OSAKA - Shimadzu Corp. will soon commercialize a blood test designed to detect early-stage colon cancer, which tends to go unnoticed until symptoms become apparent at a more advanced stage.
The precision equipment-maker introduced the new diagnostic method on a trial basis at a hospital in Kyoto in October and plans to launch a commercial screening service in 2019 with a goal of being able to offer it across the country in a few years.
A stool examination to detect signs of bleeding in the digestive tract is commonly used to diagnose colon cancer in Japan, but the method is not very accurate.
The new method can detect colon cancer with 96 percent accuracy by measuring eight types of biomarkers in blood, according to Shimadzu.
The company plans to apply the method to diagnose early-stage breast cancer and pancreatic cancer in the future.
Colon cancer is one of the most common causes of death in Japan, according to the National Cancer Center.
There are other approaches to detecting cancers in their early stages. Hitachi Ltd. is developing a diagnostic method using urine samples.