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Australian researchers devise 10-minute cancer test

Australian researchers devise 10-minute cancer test

Australian researchers devise 10-minute cancer test

A new inexpensive procedure will show whether a patient has cancerous cells in the body, but does not reveal where or how serious it is.

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have developed a new cancer test that can detect the presence of cancer cells in the body.

The 10-minute test, announced in a study published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, can determine whether a tumour is present in the human body by identifying a unique DNA nanostructure that is common to all types of cancer.

The cancer test works by identifying the presence of that structure, a discovery which could help detect cancer in humans far earlier than current methods.

“Discovering that cancerous DNA molecules formed entirely different 3D nanostructures from normal circulating DNA was a breakthrough that has enabled an entirely new approach to detect cancer non-invasively in any tissue type including blood,” said Professor Matt Trau in a statement.

The test has a sensitivity of about 90%, meaning it would detect about 90 in 100 cases of cancer. It would serve as an initial check for cancer, with doctors following up positive results with more focused investigations.

“We certainly don’t know yet whether it’s the Holy Grail for all cancer diagnostics, but it looks really interesting as an incredibly simple universal marker of cancer and as an accessible and inexpensive technology that doesn’t require complicated lab-based equipment like DNA sequencing,” Trau added.

The scientists are now working towards clinical trials with patients that have a broader range of cancer types than they have tested so far.

While the test is still in development, it draws on a radical new approach to cancer detection that could make routine screening for the disease a simple procedure for doctors.

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