New study moves researchers closer to lung cancer blood test

October 15, 2012

Early signs of lung cancer could be diagnosed using a simple blood test following a new discovery by scientists at the University of York.

Early detection of lung cancer has been shown to save lives, but available methods for screening at-risk people are either too costly or involve invasive procedures. The latest findings, published today in the US journal , mean that a simple blood test could now be developed. Dr Dawn Coverley, who is based at the University's Department of Biology and is funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, has found that an altered form of a protein called Ciz1 is present in lung cancers, even when they are at a very early stage.

She said: "The Ciz1 protein is involved in cell growth and division. Altered forms of this protein are present in , and one specific form is prevalent in lung cancers. Surprisingly, this variant-Ciz1 somehow gets into the blood stream and once there appears to be very stable. This means that by looking for variant Ciz1 in the blood we can pick out people who have small tumours in their lungs, without the need to take a biopsy or undergo surgery.

"We think that the test will be especially powerful when combined with X-ray or , and will offer doctors an alternative way to test whether an is cancerous. For the patient, this means that many could avoid invasive diagnostic procedures altogether."

Kathryn Scott, Head of Research Funding for Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: "This research is related to a cancer which is prevalent in Yorkshire towns and cities. Lung cancer is very difficult to treat and has a low survival rate, but it is traditionally underfunded in the UK. Yorkshire Cancer Research is strongly committed to funding projects such as these, which have enormous potential patient benefit."

Cizzle Biotech, a spin out company from the University of York that is funded primarily by Yorkshire , the White Rose Seed Fund and Finance Yorkshire, is now translating the research into a test suitable for use in hospital diagnostic laboratories.

Explore further: Detecting lung cancer early

Related Stories

Detecting lung cancer early

May 16, 2011

A person's blood reveals whether he or she has lung cancer: this has been demonstrated by researchers at the University of Bonn. In collaboration with colleagues at the Cologne University Hospital, they are developing a blood ...

New blood test for early cancer detection developed

February 21, 2012

A simple blood test is being developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel that may provide early detection of many types of cancer.

Recommended for you

Researchers thwart cancer cells by triggering 'virus alert'

August 27, 2015

Working with human cancer cell lines and mice, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and elsewhere have found a way to trigger a type of immune system "virus alert" that may one day boost cancer patients' ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.