According to new research led by a team from the Tokyo-based National Cancer Center Japan, a single drop of blood can now be used to identify thirteen types of cancer.
Toray Industries Inc., is one of the companies that has come up with this new testing method. Its team of researchers (among many others) used blood from more than 40,000 patients, to identify the microRNA (miRNA) that can be used to diagnose cancer.
A single drop of blood can now be used to diagnose 13 different types of cancer.
The role of miRNA
miRNA is a substance that plays a key role in gene expression. It is excreted from cells into the blood and is responsible for gene regulation.
Basically, the difference between the miRNA of the normal cells and cancer cells is used for the detection of cancer. Currently, researchers can use this method to identify cancer of the following types:
- Biliary tract
- Bone and soft tissue tumours
The clinical study of this new research – which is set to start next month – aims to use fresh blood from more than 3000 people, including from both patients and healthy people. This will be done in order to eliminate any sort of error that could have occurred in the initial results which used preserved blood.
One of the concerns is that the properties of miRNA in preserved blood may differ from that of fresh blood.
The Benefits and Potential
The test, although its rather efficient, would still require further examination in order to confirm results. However it has been stated by Takahiro Ochiya, Head of the Molecular and Cellular Medicine Division, that in the future it will be possible to bring into light the stages of cancer and its characteristics without further tests.
The study began in the mid of July after the centre’s research and ethics screening committee granted permission for it. After a minimum of three years, these new tests will be put to more practical and mainstream use as well, once the central government gives the go-ahead for this.
Via the Japan News