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Group aims to detect 13 cancers in a single test

Kyodo

A group comprising the National Cancer Center, private companies and Japanese universities said Monday it will kick off a five-year project to enable the detection of 13 kinds of cancer from a simple blood sample.

The ¥7.9 billion project led by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, an independent administrative agency known as NEDO, is aimed at enabling early stage cancer detection through a simple blood test.

The blood test is expected to help diagnose stomach, esophagus, lung, liver, biliary tract, pancreas, colon, ovary, prostate, bladder and breast cancers, as well as sarcoma and glial tumors.

It will screen microRNAs as tumor markers. The microRNAs, substances in blood and other bodily fluid, have been found to rise when people develop cancer. Over 2,500 types of microRNAs have been confirmed in humans and are expected to serve as cancer indicators.

Participants including Toray Industries Inc. will analyze the serum and body tissue samples of 65,000 people preserved by the National Cancer Center for the development of the detection equipment.

“If we can develop the world’s first high-precision test in Japan, it can extend people’s healthy life years and contribute to the development of industries,” said Tomomitsu Hotta, president of the National Cancer Center.