1 min readResearchers are a Step Closer to a Blood Test for Lung Cancer

Ridgewood, NJ — The team of oncologists and research scientists from the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood discovered a protein that circulates in the blood that appears to be more accurate than the current method of low-dose CT scans for detecting non-small cell lung cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends an annual screening for patients 55 to 80 years old with a history of smoking and who are at high risk for developing lung cancer.

Confirming the accuracy of the protein, AKAP4, in a broader, more robust study could result in developing a simple blood test for annual screenings, rather than the less accurate, more expensive CT scan, which exposes patients to radiation.

The research built on the success of a previous study led by Dr. Ganepola A. P. Ganepola, where a biomarker for pancreatic cancer was discovered. Valley began biomarker research approximately six years ago, he says, “before the word biomarker was common”.

“Cancer is a dreadful disease which kills more than half of patients,” said Dr. Ganepola. “The other half survives for only one reason – the disease is detected early enough to be eradicated completely.”

“If the tumours are detected early enough, the survival rate can dramatically improve from less than 5 percent to over 55 percent in lung and pancreatic cancers.”

The achievements in cancer studies stem from Valley’s superior research facilities and the caliber of its staff, the practicing oncology surgeon said. “Our advanced capabilities can meet the high demand cancer research required to care for cancer patients at all levels.”

“Our early research on metastatic colon cancer is considered among the best in the world and we maintain that lead today.”

The Valley Hospital and The Wistar Institute team plan to validate their lung cancer research results in a larger study involving more than 800 blood samples from various hospitals.

“Our partnership with Wistar is a good example of collaborative research in which two institutions work together for the good of patients,” Dr. Ganepola said.

Article adapted from a Valley Health System news release.

Publication: AKAP4 is a circulating biomarker for non-small cell lung cancer. Qihong Huang et al. Oncotarget (June 2015): Click here to view.

Blood test, Lung cancer

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