A new research by the immunodiagnostics firm Oncimmune has shown that new blood test can detect if a person has lung cancer before symptoms develop.
Experts experimented on more than 12,000 people in Scotland who were at high risk of developing the disease. They found people who took the test were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at an early stage.
Chief investigator, Prof Frank Sullivan, said the finding could have “globally significant implications.”
The experts are hoping that the new test will soon be rolled out across Scotland and beyond.
For the research and the test to be conducted, 12,209 patients from Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Tayside took part. These patients were all adults in the age group of 50-75 years and were either smokers or former smokers.
Among these, the patients who received the EarlyCDT lung test and went to develop lung cancer, 41.1% were diagnosed at an early stage (stage 1 and 2). On the other hand, about a quarter (26.8%) of the control group who received standard care were diagnosed early. This led to a conclusion that there was a reduction of 36% in late-stage symptoms in patients who were checked for two years after taking the test. The trial also showed a lower death rates among people who took the test compared with people in the control group.
Mr. Sullivan, a professor of primary care medicine at the University of St Andrews, said: “These landmark findings are likely to have globally significant implications for the early detection of lung cancer by showing how a simple blood test, followed by CT scans, is able to increase the number of patients diagnosed at an earlier stage of the disease, when surgery is still possible and prospects for survival much higher.”
The findings were presented at the 2019 World Conference on Lung Cancer that was hosted by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) in Barcelona on Monday.
Adam Hill, chief executive officer of Oncimmune, said: “We look forward to working with health authorities in Scotland and beyond to roll out EarlyCDT Lung more widely, with the aim of saving lives and reducing costs for the NHS and other healthcare systems around the world.
Meanwhile. We are continuing to test our technology on other forms of cancer, including liver, ovarian, breast and prostate, in pursuit of our ambition to build the leading immunodiagnostic platform in the field of oncology.”
The University of Dundee and NHS Tayside sponsored the trail and the Scottish Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government and Oncimmune co-funded it.