A blood test for
13 types of
The National Cancer
Center in Japan is working to develop within five years
a method to diagnose early 13 types of cancer
by a simple blood test, has they announced this
This project of 7.9 billion yen (57 million euros) in
particular should contribute to screening for cancer of
breast, stomach, esophagus, lung, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, colon, ovarian,
prostate and bladder. It could also help detect early
degenerative diseases including Alzheimer's
This is to verify the presence of blood in the
micro-ribonucleic acids (microRNA), whose increase
is supposed to report the development of a cancer.
More than 2,500 varieties of these molecules have been
identified in the human body and could serve as "markers" to
detect different types of cancers, much faster than the
battery sometimes heavy examinations currently
Several research teams in Europe and the United States are
also interested in the role of microRNAs in the cases of
various cancers, but Japanese researchers hope to advance further
in their investigations, which have yet to lead to
the realization of a commercial test.
The program is led by the Japanese Department of the
New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization
(NEDO) which supports programs for large-scale research
in various fields, with the participation of several companies
including Toray Industries and Toshiba that have
big ambitions in the medical field.
This project will build on data from 65,000 patients
provided by the National Cancer Centre. "If we succeed in
developing the world's leading high-precision test in
Japan, this may extend several years of people's lives
and contribute to the development of Japanese industries," assured
Tomomitsu Hotta, president of the center.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is a
leading cause of mortality worldwide, responsible for 8.2 million
deaths in 2012 Cancers of the lung, stomach, liver,
colon and breast cancers are those that cause the greatest
number of deaths each year. Having a technology to detect the fetal disease in its
genesis will facilitate medical professionals to combat it more effectively.