Tuesday 16 January 2018

Thousands of lives to be saved through early detection of bowel cancer with new €25 blood test

Irish scientists developing simple check which aims to encourage high risk candidates to come forward.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the country.
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the country.
Some 1,000 people in Ireland dying from bowel cancer each year
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

A new cost-effective blood test designed for early detection of bowel cancer is expected to save thousands of lives in Ireland.

Currently in development with Irish researchers, the €25 blood check will pick up on antibodies that are produced as the body reacts to the onset of bowel cancer.

With 1,000 people in Ireland dying from bowel cancer each year, the disease is the second most common cause of cancer death in the country.

The simplicity and low cost of this new test – in addition to its more accurate and reliable screening – is expected to encourage more people to come forward.

Reacting to the 2,500 people diagnosed with bowel cancer annually, a nationwide Bowel Screen initiative has been rolled out to those at ‘high risk’, namely those between the ages of 60-69.

Researchers from the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI) at Dublin City University and Irish biotech firm Randox have collaborated, promising that this test will be a significant breakthrough in the diagnosis of bowel cancer.

The non-invasive test could be available for widespread use by the end of next year – and will ensure sufferers are identified and are treated more effectively, according to Professor Richard O’Kennedy, Scientific Director of BDI.

“Survival rates from bowel cancer are closely associated with the stage at diagnosis.  More than half of people with bowel cancer are diagnosed in the later stages, requiring more complex treatment, with a poorer chance of survival,” he said.

“The aim of this new test is to find the cancer at the earliest possible stage, when it is easier to treat, improving outcomes for patients.”

Dr Sinéad Walsh of the Irish Cancer Society, said the organisation is “very excited by the results of this research”.

“The earlier bowel cancer can be detected the better the outcome for patients,” she said.

“This coupled with the ability to personalise treatments for bowel cancer patients, will contribute to better outcomes for people with bowel cancer.”

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