Brain Cancer Reemergence Could Soon Be Detected Using a Finger-Prick Test
A team of researchers from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Sheffield is developing a first-of-its-kind finger-prick test to test for brain cancer. The research team says the simple test could make it easier to spot recurring brain tumors and even extend the lives of tens of thousands of cancer patients globally.
More than 300,000 people worldwide are diagnosed with brain tumors every year, and experts predict that slightly more than 18,000 Americans will lose their lives to brain cancer and central nervous system tumors this year. In addition, even though brain cancer treatments have gotten significantly better over the decades, brain tumors often recur unpredictably after treatment.
Brain tumors can return to their original location or different parts of the brain, sometimes weeks or even years after treatment, making it incredibly difficult for doctors to predict if and when their patients will experience brain tumor recurrence. This unpredictability makes it harder to detect brain cancer when it recurs early enough and significantly reduces the chances of positive treatment outcomes. As such, regular monitoring is necessary to detect brain tumors when they recur so treatment can begin as soon as possible.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are used to check for brain tumors, but they can be prohibitively expensive, locking many patients out of regular monitoring and putting them at risk of fatal brain tumor recurrence. The new finger-prick test will make it easier for physicians to spot brain tumors early enough while reducing the need for costly MRI scans, making regular checkups much more affordable for brain cancer patients and lessening the burden on healthcare systems.
Nottingham Trent University Professor Philippe Wilson noted that initial brain tumor management usually involves the most effective treatments, but brain tumor recurrence is a “major problem.” Some brain cancers can return very quickly after initial treatment, and patients often discover the tumors long after they have recurred and spread to the rest of the brain, he said.
Finger-prick tests for brain cancer detection would provide patients with a simple and extremely affordable means of at-home monitoring for tens of thousands of brain tumor patients around the world. The University of Sheffield’s Dr. Ola Rominiyi said that with brain cancer patients going for follow-up MRI scans every three to six months, an efficient and cheap weekly test will be a godsend for less affluent patients who simply couldn’t afford to shell out up to $13,000 per MRI scan every few months.
With this rapid detection of recurrence, novel drugs such as those being developed by CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) can be used to address those tumors before they spread.
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