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Japanese experts seek approval for cancer-detection technique requiring only a drop of blood

Kyodo

Scientists from state-backed institutions are seeking government approval for a cancer detection technique that only needs a drop of blood to zero in on RNA molecules linked to more than a dozen types of the killer disease.

The method, developed by a research team from the National Cancer Center Japan and other institutions, detects cancer-associated microRNAs, molecules that regulate gene expression, the scientists said.

The new diagnosis will be cheaper and much less invasive than biomarker testing because it can detect microRNAs linked to 13 types of cancers in a single drop of blood, they said.

The new method is also more accurate than the biomarker testing and can detect early-stage cancers, they said.

It can find bile duct, bladder, breast, colon, esophageal, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and stomach cancers, as well as glioma and sarcoma.

Research to date has mostly been conducted using blood samples preserved for relatively long periods of time. The team is conducting clinical trials involving around 3,000 cancer patients to ensure the test’s accuracy.