Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine

UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test 63

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the coming-to-a-patent-office-near-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes UK researchers say they've devised a simple blood test that can be used to diagnose whether people have cancer or not. The Lymphocyte Genome Sensitivity (LGS) test looks at white blood cells and measures the damage caused to their DNA when subjected to different intensities of ultraviolet light (UVA), which is known to damage DNA. The results of the empirical study show a distinction between the damage to the white blood cells from patients with cancer, with pre-cancerous conditions and from healthy patients. "Whilst the numbers of people we tested are, in epidemiological terms, quite small (208), in molecular epidemiological terms, the results are powerful," said the team's lead researcher. "We've identified significant differences between the healthy volunteers, suspected cancer patients and confirmed cancer patients of mixed ages at a statistically significant level .... This means that the possibility of these results happening by chance is 1 in 1000." The research is published online in the FASEB Journal, the U.S. Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

Comments Filter:
  • Cause/Effect? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Monday July 28, 2014 @11:33PM (#47555169)

    Sounds like generalized damage to white blood cells they're detecting. It's my understanding that "cancers" of a sort kind of exist in pockets in most everyone - they're just not the sort that get aggressive and kill people, because those mutant pockets just don't break enough of the rules of good cell conduct yet to count as a notable risk.

    My big issue with the methodology is that when anyone has already detectable active cancer, they usually are on chemo, or too sick to stop the progress... both of which will cause generalized damage to the body's defenses. If they can reliably distinguish the kinds of damage though, that would be a nice development.

    Even as it is stated, sounds useful to help distinguish some symptoms from cancer perhaps - but it seems this could also correlate with radiation damage or other generalized damage too. Cool study all the same - perhaps may help lead to cheaper or more automated screening at some level.

    Ryan Fenton

  • Re:Link to abstract (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gringer (252588) on Tuesday July 29, 2014 @01:49AM (#47555519)

    The actual paper is behind a paywall.

    Yay for institute access. Their idea of "approach[ing] 100%" is a little bit loose:

    Based on these calculations, the cutoffs for low (0.10), medium (0.25), and high (0.50) thresholds are 1.47 at a sensitivity of 94.8% and a specificity of 54.7%, 1.73 at a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 78.7%, and 1.99 at a sensitivity of 62.1% and a specificity of 94%, respectively

    I have yet to do the calculations using population prevalence, but I'm going to guess that the positive predictive value of these tests are not particularly high.

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

Working...