Could a Simple Blood Test Diagnose Skin and Blood Cancers?
When it comes to cancer detection, researchers and healthcare professionals alike are always looking to get better. One of the best ways to defeat cancer is to not only catch the disease early on, but to also detect it accurately. Being able to detect cancer using simple tests in early disease dramatically helps people survive the disease because surgeries and chemotherapies are much more effective at that time. Right now, most methods we use to detect cancer involve extremely expensive and time-consuming imaging scans.
Blood tests are a simple and convenient way to evaluate patients with many different health conditions
Blood tests are a really easy way to evaluate for various diseases in patients. It can signify diabetes, heart attacks, and autoimmune diseases among others. But what about detecting cancer? Turns out that a group of scientists at Georgia State University have been working on developing a simple blood test to detect cancer in patients.
Researchers have been able to use blood tests to detect cancer in mice
The team had been analyzing blood collected from lab mice to see if their method could detect mice who had non-Hodgkin lymphoma or melanoma versus those who were cancer-free. Using infrared spectroscopy, the researchers were able to detect cancer in sick mice, as well as distinguish between the two different types of cancer involved. The machine would detect infrared beams absorbed and reflected by the blood samples, creating unique absorbance curves with peaks which serve as a unique fingerprint. This allows researchers to decipher biochemical differences between the blood of mice blood who have cancer and those who don't.
Infrared spectroscopy can tell scientists about chemical composition of patient samples
Infrared spectroscopy is a technology that detects electromagnetic radiation. This type of radiation has longer wavelengths than visible light, meaning they contain lower energy levels than the light we think of in our everyday lives. These invisible light waves are detected by this machine and can tell us a lot about different chemical molecules present in a particular sample. This is because every molecule in our universe absorbs and reflects energy based on a specific "fingerprint" that can alert the chemist about its identity. It is on the basis of this scientific knowledge that we may be able to detect molecules associated with specific cancers in patient blood. Infrared spectroscopy has been commonly used by the medical and scientific field to characterize various biologic substances for the identification of molecules that are present.
The team was able to detect lymphoma or melanoma using blood samples from mice
The research team published their recent results in a journal called Scientific Reports. The authors suggested that their data support the potential of using infrared spectroscopy to detect changes in the blood that may be due to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or subcutaneous melanoma.
Melanoma and lymphoma will benefit from the development of improved testing
Melanoma and lymphoma are two grave illnesses that have costly consequences for patients. Not only do patients have to suffer through expensive and arduous therapies, but many lose their lives if their cancer is detected too late. Recently, studies have shown that melanoma rates are actually rising over the last decade, especially in those who have a lighter complexion. Additionally, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is also a prevalent disease in the United States. Almost 5% of all new cancer cases in America is attributed to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Read on to learn more about this important discovery.