Researchers have discovered a remarkable new 10-minute cancer test that is much more accessible than current methods. With this test, the presence of cancer cells can be found in any part of the body, according to a new study published last week.
Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer in America alone. This doesn’t factor in the people who don’t even go to the clinic to be tested in the first place, due to a lack of medical insurance or other outstanding issues. With this staggering amount of people diagnosed annually, the appeal for a 10-minute cancer test is strong. Faster testing and quicker results can mean life or death for many patients, making this test a potentially life-saving service.
The 10-Minute Test: How it Works
Testing for cancer can mean a whole range of blood work, tissue samples, and other invasive procedures. But this new 10-minute test is breaking all cancer screening stereotypes, and all at a relatively low cost. The goal? To make cancer screenings part of a regular clinic check-up, instead of testing after symptoms of cancer have already shown up.
The idea for this new cancer test came from the minds of a team of researchers at University of Queensland. After studying cancer cells, they discovered that cancerous cells change in DNA structure when exposed to water. This phenomenon sparked the idea that the DNA structures could be differentiated from other healthy DNA structures in the body, based on the inside of the body’s cells.
Healthy cells consist of patterning their DNA with molecules called methyl groups. When looked at closely, normal cells should will have methyl groups dotted all over within them. Cancerous cells, however, are nearly bare and lack the normal methyl cells.
A simple 10-minute cancer test means earlier detection and treatment, perhaps even before any symptoms have begun to show.
It’s because of these differing cells’ patterns that researchers were then able to conduct a water test. If a sample of DNA seems to be lacking methyl, doctors will then place it into water that contains gold nanoparticles, and then observe the reaction. Cells that contain cancerous DNA will result in the water remaining its original color. Healthy cells, however, will react to the gold particles and turn the water blue.
While the water test is not able to specify the types of cancer or the extremity of the case, it is a simple and effective way to detect cancerous cells within the body. Further and more specific tests may need to be conducted, depending on the results of the water test.
It’s also worth noting the simplicity of the test and the scarcity of equipment required to run it. There won’t be a need for extensive lab equipment that can read into gene sequencing. Tumor biopsies won’t be necessary for conclusive cancer results. All that will be needed is a quick, non-invasive DNA sample and some gold nanoparticles in water. The results will be able to be seen by the naked eye within minutes.
Types of Cancer Testing
The 10-minute cancer screening is still being developed before it can be implemented in clinics across the world. As we wait, cancer screenings will continue as normal; Invasive and time-consuming.
One of the most common ways to test for cancer is a blood test. A complete blood count, blood protein testing, or tumor marking tests may be ordered, depending on the doctor’s suspicions. Unfortunately, blood tests aren’t always conclusive and can’t tell patients whether they absolutely have cancer or not. Plus, they have to be sent to labs for testing, which can take days before the results come in.
Aside from blood tests, biopsies can be used for testing. Depending on the suspected location, biopsies can vary on how invasive they are. Once the samples are sent away for examination, patients can expect to wait a few days to hear the results, or sometimes over a week, if a more complicated analysis is required.
The large wait times and extensive current process may be daunting for those seeking diagnosis.
Using a 10-minute screening test could eliminate the need for exploratory biopsies and blood tests. Plus, its speedy testing time would mean less time spent worrying about results, and the possibility to catch the disease at its earliest stage before it progresses.
No One is Immune
No place in the world is immune from cancer. Worldwide, over 14 million cases of cancer are diagnosed per year. And in places where healthcare is poor, screenings aren’t a priority.
With advancements like the 10-minute cancer screening becoming accessible to the medical field, millions of lives could be saved. The test is cheap, effective, and doesn’t require much in order to be conducted. This means that it could be accessible for doctors worldwide, where lab testing isn’t feasible.
The importance of early detection is really what will make the difference for patients in developing countries. Often times, clinics have the resources to begin treating cancer's early stages; It’s when it progresses and spreads throughout the body that treatment becomes more difficult.
A 10-minute cancer test paves the way for more accessible detection and treatment for all.
Thanks to 10-minute cancer screenings, the potential to save lives and offer proper, timely medical care to those in need is remarkable. The affordability, ease, and speed of these tests makes them amazing services that can be offered worldwide. Early detection is exactly what the medical industry needs to fight off this horrific disease. Advancements like this make us hopeful for better healthcare and eventually, a cure.