A “game-changing” blood test, capable of detecting womb cancer even at its pre-cancerous stage, is to go into clinical trial at Rosemere Cancer Centre.Advertisement
Cases of womb cancer, which is the sixth most common cancer in women, are rising in the UK through its links to increasing obesity and an ageing population.
Current testing for the disease involves a transvaginal ultrasound, a procedure that is intimate, expensive and limited by the scarcity of highly-trained ultrasonographers. If required, women will then undergo a biopsy – another invasive and costly procedure that can involve a period of waiting.
In contrast the new blood plasma test offers a simple, low-cost and instantaneous means of diagnosing women with womb cancer, and fast-tracking them into treatment to catch their cancer early.
Now, Rosemere Cancer Centre-based consultant in gynaecological cancer surgery and Research Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Professor Pierre Martin-Hirsch and his team are to take the test into clinical trial as an initial step to establishing it as a first-line diagnostic tool across the NHS.
Read more: Preston patients to be first in the world to access new cancer drugs
Consultants at Rosemere Cancer Centre have already been involved in a study that helped to establish the test as an improvement in the diagnosis and prognosis of womb cancer.
Dr Maria Paraskevaidi, a research associate at the University of Central Lancashire and Imperial College London, received a Rosemere Cancer Foundation grant of £72,000 to work with oncological gynaecologists at Rosemere Cancer Centre.
Dr Paraskevaidi and her team tested the blood plasma of 652 women attending the Preston centre, alongside others from NHS trusts in Manchester and London. In doing so, they generated a characteristic biological fingerprint that confirmed if patients had signs of womb cancer or the pre-cancerous condition, atypical hyperplasia.
Dr Paraskevaidi said: “Despite the rising incidence of womb cancer throughout the world, there have been few advances made in improving diagnosis and prognosis of this disease.
“Our research signals an important step forward for patients, clinicians and the research community, and has the potential to be developed into a simple, low- cost and instantaneous test for womb cancer in the future.”
Professor Martin-Hirsch said: “This is a potential game changer in the early recognition of womb cancer. I am proud of the achievements of this collaborative team.”
Read more: How music is being used to help relax patients at Rosemere Cancer Centre
In this country, of women found to have womb cancer, the majority are diagnosed with stage 1 disease, but 30 per cent have more advanced cancer and therefore a poorer prognosis.
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
What do you think of Rosemere’s work at the forefront of improving the diagnosis and prognosis of womb cancer? Let us know in the comments.