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New prostate cancer test 'could better-target treatments'

16 June 2017 08:45

A new test could target prostate cancer treatments more effectively

A new test could target prostate cancer treatments more effectively

Aggressive and potentially lethal prostate cancer could be detected more quickly thanks to a simple blood test, scientists have revealed.

By identifying rare free-ranging tumour cells, the test can highlight people who possess a 10-fold increased risk of dying from their disease. And that ultimately means it could be easier to target treatments at the right patients.

Prostate cancer is diagnosed in around 40,000 British men each year. While the condition is often slow-growing and relatively straightforward to treat, it can be a lot more aggressive in certain cases. In such instances, it can spread to other parts of the body.

Targeting the right people

According to the latest research published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, the new test could single out people who have life-threatening prostate cancer.

Two specific types of circulating tumour cell which are associated with metastasis and poor patient survival are flagged up by the test.

Megakaryocytes are also picked up by the test. These are large bone marrow cells that are thought to aid prostate cancer survival.

Commenting on the procedure, l ead scientist Dr Yong-Jie Lu, from Queen Mary, University of London, said it opens up "exciting opportunities".

The expert said: " We have already started to test more patient samples and will soon move on to wider clinical trials to confirm the efficacy of the test. We are also working to see if this test can be used on other types of cancer."

Holiday plans

Prostate cancer can impact people's lives in many ways. But it doesn't have to mean the end of foreign holidays.

Specialist medical travel insurance is available, offering emergency assistance and cover for lost medication.

'Promising study'

Commenting on the development of the new test, Rebecca Porta, from the charity Orchid - Fighting Male Cancer, which funded the study, said it offers "very promising" findings for patients.

She said that providing people with more appropriate treatments could save lives and boost life expectancy rates.