STANFORD, NETRALNEWS.COM - Stanford University researchers have developed a low-cost and highly sensitive blood test that can quickly detect the growth and spread of cancer. The blood test is called single color digital PCR, and it can detect genetic mutations in small amounts of DNA released from cancer cells into the blood.
This highly sensitive test requires only a small fraction of the blood in a single reaction, the researchers said. It is potentially personified to recognize unique mutations in each cancer in individuals, the researchers say.
"To monitor patients' tumors, only a few blood tests are available and only limited to certain types of cancer," said Hanlee P Ji, associate professor at Stanford University in the US, as quoted by Boldsky.
Hanlee said almost all cancer patients require full-body imaging monitoring, which can be expensive, complicated, and time-consuming. On the contrary, the molecular tests as they have been developed will allow patients to be monitored and thus have the potential to immediately track cancer growth and spread.
The rapid turnover of tests and relatively low cost, especially compared to next-generation DNA sequences, provides a potential opportunity for universal monitoring of more patients than is currently done, Hanlee said.
Researchers used the test to analyze samples from six patients. Five patients were previously diagnosed with colorectal cancer and one with cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer. Once the mutation detection tests are adjusted, the researchers can identify inherited DNA circulating in three of the six patients.
The single color digital PCR test offers several advantages over other tumor DNA analysis methods over the years.
"This test is simple enough to be prepared and analyzed without extensive training and therefore, it can be implemented by anyone, making it very accessible to any laboratory," says Christina Wood Bouwens of Stanford University.