Cervical cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women. Around 9 in every 100,000 women die from this disease every year. Due to both the commonality as well as the lethality of this disease, scientists and health professionals have long been looking for effective methods of diagnosing the problem as early as possible. A new study now may have broken new ground in the fight against cervical cancer and may result in the development of an effective and easy test to check for the early signs of cervical cancer.
According to the new study, cervical can be detected using a simple blood test that could be used to detect not just cervical cancer, but womb, lung, skin and ovarian cancer as well. The test would involve heating a sample of a patient's blood and using a plasma thermogram technique to create a "heatprint" that can be used to detect cervical cancer. The technique requires scientists to note the differences in the melting temperature of the many different proteins contained in human blood.
A total of 67 women suffering from different stages of cervical cancer participated in the study and researchers compiled to data to be compared with samples from healthy individuals. Due to the fact that different types of protein melt at different temperatures, researchers were able to create thermograms that could be used to detect the presence of certain proteins in the blood. These proteins may be evidence of the presence of cervical cancer. Due to the simple nature of the test, further refinement can result in a non-invasive test that could potentially save the lives of millions of women.
"We have been able to demonstrate a more convenient, less intrusive test for detecting and staging cervical cancer," says Dr. Nichola Garbett of the University of Louisville. "Additionally, other research has shown that we are able to demonstrate if the current treatment is effective so that clinicians will be able to better tailer care for each patient."
The study was published in journal PLOS ONE and showed a process that could be further refined into a reliable testing procedure in the future. While promising, the team of researchers from the University of Louisville say that further study is required to verify and increase both the reliability and accuracy of the said technique.