New research led by scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit suggests that by analysing levels of DNA in the blood, the early detection of lung cancer could be improved.
The study, published in the journal Disease Models and Mechanisms, found that in preliminary tests using mice, a blood test could measure the circulating levels of DNA in the blood which cancer cells shed as they grow and multiply, and could even predict the presence of tumours in the lungs before they became cancerous.
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death around the world, partly due to the difficulties in detecting the disease at an early stage. By the time lung cancer is diagnosed, it has often spread to other parts of the body making it much more difficult to treat, which is why improved diagnosis at an earlier stage is key to beating the disease.
The scientists at the MRC Toxicology Unit, part of the University of Cambridge, alongside scientists at the University of Leicester, used mice with a mutation in a gene called KRAS to model the pre-cancerous stages of lung cancer. The researchers took regular computed tomography (CT) scans to monitor
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