It has been found that DNA blood samples are a very good indicator of the presence of cancer in the body. Cancer metastasis can be predicted with accuracy via this latest methodology.
The medical experts have shown that tumors that slough their DNA into the bloodstream of cancer patients can be tracked. This essentially means that cancer progress and its amelioration via many therapies is possible to predict with relative ease.
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All that is needed is to keep taking DNA samples. For a period of three years, Cancer Research UK team took blood samples and discarded tumor material via biopsy from breast cancer victims. The differences between the blood DNA samples and the biopsy material were noted down with alacrity. Their study published in the journal Nature Communications today (Wednesday).
It was found to the surprise of the scientists that the two tests showed a remarkable affinity. They both in a way were harbingers of each other. Thus this points to a new way of testing for the appearance, symptoms, progress and relapse of cancer in patients. Analysis of tumor DNA in the blood samples could accurately show what the state of the cancer was in the afflicted client.
Study author Professor Carlos Caldas, senior group leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said: "This definitively shows that we can use blood-based DNA tests to track the progress of cancer in real time.
The findings could change the way we monitor patients, and may be especially important for people with cancers that are difficult to reach, as taking a biopsy can sometimes be quite an invasive procedure."
From now onwards blood tests could predict cancer epidemiology and trends. This has simplified matters a lot. Especially in case of patients who have to undergo difficult and invasive procedures to track their cancer, this is a huge blessing.
Now all they will have to do is allow a lab technician to take a small blood sample for DNA testing. A mere fraction of second of pain from a hypodermic syringe will be all that has to be endured. This is in contrast to the complex and complicated procedures that were the order of the day in the past.
The hard fact that cancer is a deadly disease that transfers its tumors to other sites on the body has to be dealt with in the nick of time. Access to how the patient is surviving at the time of the illness is crucial.
Professor Caldas added: "We were able to use the blood tests to map out the disease as it progressed. We now need to see if this works in more patients and other cancer types, but this is an exciting first step."
With this novel process, much of the rigmarole of bygone days will have gone into abeyance. The analysis of the cancer in its various stages and phases is the crux of the matter. A full map of the cancerous state of the body can be accessed in a jiffy thanks to this method. The physicians can then act on the spur of the moment to administer the right drugs, chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Dr Kat Arney, science information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Spotting tumour DNA in the bloodstream is a really promising area of research, and has the potential to give doctors valuable clues about a patient's disease without having to take repeated tumour samples.
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"For now, surgical biopsies still play an important role in diagnosing and monitoring cancers. But this work gives us a window into the future, where we'll use less invasive techniques to track the disease in real time."