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New blood test to detect silent, lethal pancreatic cancer

IANS Nov 21, 2023

Researchers have developed a novel blood test that could lead to the first early detection of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer has a poor survival rate marred by a lack of distinct symptoms and screening tools needed to detect the disease in its initial stages.

The team from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Australia hopes that the test will, for the first time, accurately identify patients with early stages of pancreatic cancer – a crucial step towards improving survival rates and quality of life for patients.

“There are no early detection biomarkers for pancreatic cancer and this needs to urgently change,” said Dr Belinda Lee, a consultant medical oncologist at WEHI.

The team identified 13 proteins that could distinguish between the early and late stages of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) -- the most common type of pancreatic cancer that’s fast becoming the cancer of our generation.

“We hope to validate these proteins and show that they can be used to reliably screen for early pancreatic cancer," Lee said.

“This would allow us to create the first diagnostic test to identify patients who have early stages of pancreatic cancer -- something that unfortunately does not exist at the moment," she added.

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