Simple blood test could detect early signs of oral cancer
SYDNEY, Australia: Although increasing numbers of oral cancer cases are being reported worldwide, there is currently no routine screening test available for this particular type of cancer. A new quick and cost-effective blood test developed by Australian scientists may change this, allowing health care providers to screen for early signs of oral cancer during routine check-ups.
The test, called miLIFE, was developed at the University of Technology, Sydney, and enables screening for certain biomarkers for oral cancer in blood samples within 48 hours.
“Levels of five specific microRNA molecules are detected with miLIFE and compared with healthy, non-cancerous individuals. An overabundance or expression of these specific microRNAs will place a patient in a high-risk category,” explained Samantha Khoury, a PhD candidate at the university’s Centre for Health Technologies who led the study.
In contrast to conventional diagnosis options, such as biopsies, which are highly invasive and painful, the newly developed test can be easily administered by health care providers alongside routine blood tests of cholesterol, vitamin D and haemoglobin levels.
According to the researchers, the test could provide a means to decrease the number of people diagnosed with oral cancer in Australia and worldwide. The test could also hold important implications for oral cancer prevention in developing regions in particular. “The introduction of a robust cancer screen will provide a platform for effective cancer management in low-resourced countries,” the researchers said.
They hope that the technology, which has been in development since 2006, will be available to patients within two to three years.
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