A local hospital is now one step closer to developing a better way to detect lung cancer in its early stages.
In the near future, 5cm3 of blood will be enough to tell if a person has a high risk of getting lung cancer, said Perng Wann-cheng (彭萬誠), the lead researcher at Tri-Service General Hospital.
“More than 60 percent of patients first diagnosed with lung cancer are in the late stage [of the disease], according to my experience,” Perng said. “This is because no effective screening method for lung cancer exists in the country.”
By using molecular diagnostic processes, his team has located genes strongly related to lung cancer. He said blood screening for these genes can help doctors diagnose the disease and prevent it from progressing into the late stages.
In a four-year study involving 442 people, of which 283 were healthy and 159 were diagnosed with lung cancer, the team found that the prevalence of the disease is highly correlated with the behavior of six genes.
The genes presently cannot be disclosed because the hospital is undertaking large-scale clinical trials that are required for a patent application, Perng said.
The study was a long-term, collaborative effort between National Taiwan University, the National Health Research Institute and Academia Sinica, the nation’s top research institute.
These contributors successfully narrowed 900 possible genes down to 600 before handing the project to the hospital, which whittled it down to six.
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