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Progress

Irish scientists have figured out a way to diagnose bowel cancer earlier

A method that could allow treatment for patients to be personalised has also been discovered.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS RELATING to the treatment of bowel cancer were announced this week, raising hope they could lead to improved treatment and earlier diagnosis.

Scientists have discovered biological markers (biomarkers) – indicators of a biological state – are linked to poor survival rates for the condition.

In the new study, which used tissue samples from over 100 patients, it was found that biomarkers were at a higher level in around half of patients. All of these were found to have had poorer rates of survival.

The discovery of these biomarkers could possibly be used to predict responses to drug treatment and could give physicians the ability to personalise treatment for individual patients.

It is also hoped that a new system of detection will allow bowel cancer to be diagnosed at an earlier stage. This new blood test is based on antibodies produced by the body that fight the cancer.

The test has been used to assess and screen over 200 positive Faecal Immunohistochemical tests since May 2013.

A patent has been granted for the blood exam and if further tests are successful, it could be used as prat of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme.

Bowel cancer occurs when the cells in the bowel grow at a faster than normal rate. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland.

This new research was carried out by Dr Gregor Kijanka at the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute in Dublin City University.

On the findings Dr Kijanka, who is a former research fellow with the Irish Cancer Society,  said:

This research is aimed at using these biomarkers identified in patients with bowel cancer to develop a quick, non-invasive blood test that would detect bowel cancer earlier so they are treated faster.  Our other research discovery will help physicians to decide on a more personalised course of medicine which will ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Read: 7 things every Irish man should know about cancer

Also: Irish Cancer Society accuses tobacco companies of enabling illegal trade

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