The researchers at the Stanford University in the US state of California have created a pill that could contribute to identifying cancer in the early stages in the body. They have been working for many years in developing a pill that could determine the cancer cells to release certain proteins into the bloodstream.
For the moment, only in theory those proteins could be easily detected with the help of a quick and easy to do blood test. The American scientists hope that this new pill they made will own a sufficiently high degree of sensitivity to work even in the cases of early-stage cancers.
The study is coordinated by John Ronald and Sanjiv Gambhir and it was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
Two years ago, they have presented the preliminary results of their study at the World Congress of molecular imaging.
Apparently, this new test could be able to detect cancer cells released from tumors in the bloodstream.
Even if the scientists are aware of the fact that these cells are present in the blood of the cancer patients, their volumes are so small that detecting them was almost impossible.
The invention of the American scientists consists in administration to patients of a medicine that contains circular DNA fragments that penetrate tumor cells. These DNA fragments are called “mini-circles” and determine the cancer cells to produce a specific protein in the blood.
At the conference in 2013, the authors of the invention declared: ” We have developed tumour-specific mini-circles [of DNA] that drive the expression of secretable alkaline phosphatase or firefly luciferase [proteins], and validated them for detecting tumours.”
“These can be assayed via serum and non-invasive imaging to differentially identify tumour-bearing from normal subjects.”
“Importantly, they should have broad applicability in many patient populations … across many different tumour types.”
The new pill could be soon recommended to all the people that are part from the category that presents the risk of developing cancer.