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Thousands of smokers to get blood test on NHS that predicts lung cancer up to FIVE YEARS before symptoms appear

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UPDATED:

11:10 GMT, 23 March 2012

Risk factor: 85% of lung cancer patients are smokers

Risk factor: 85% of lung cancer patients are smokers

A life-saving blood test that predicts lung cancer up to five years before symptoms emerge is to be trialled on thousands of smokers by the NHS.

The test detects the killer condition at the earliest stage of development by detecting antibodies as soon as they are released by the body's immune system to tackle early cancer cells.

Early treatment significantly increases a sufferer's chances of survival. Between half and three-quarters of patients diagnosed at the earliest stage are still alive five years later. This drops to one per cent for the latest stage.

It has been used in the U.S for two years. Now NHS Scotland are to trial the procedure to see whether it would be cost-effective to use it for mass screening.

Around 40,000 people are diagnosed
with lung cancer in the UK each year while the disease causes 35,000
deaths.

Most patients (85 per cent) are only diagnosed when the disease
is advanced because it doesn't cause noticeable symptoms until later on
when the chances of survival are low.

Sir Harry Burns, The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said: '/03/23/article-2119156-124C33AD000005DC-795_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”The makers say the EarlyCDT Lung test can detect cancer cells before it is clearly visible on a CT scan” class=”blkBorder” />

The makers say the EarlyCDT Lung test can detect cancer cells before it is clearly visible on a CT scan

Half will be given the EarlyCDT-Lung test and those who get a positive result will then have a CT scan to see if lung cancer is present. The other half will have the current standard of care.

The cost of care and survival rates for the two groups will then be compared. A recent study in the U.S of more than 50,000 smokers found it cut death rates by 20 per cent.

At present only 27 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women with lung cancer in the UK survive for at
least a year after being diagnosed. Just seven per cent of men and nine per cent of women will
survive for at least five years.

The test was created by Oncimmune Ltd, which is a spin out company from the University of Nottingham.

LUNG CANCER RATES IN 2008

ENGLANDWALESSCOTLAND
N.IRELANDUKMEN18,5171,2942,63759323,041WOMEN14,6339622,35244018,387ALL33,1502,2564,9891,03341,428

Professor John Robertson, Chief Scientific Officer at Oncimmune said: 'The test is highly reproducible and will I believe lead to significant improvement in prognosis for a substantial number of lung cancer sufferers.'

The test is based on the fact that as soon as cancer cells start to develop, and long before the patient notices any symptoms, the immune system starts to release antibodies, ‘soldier’ cells, that patrol the bloodstream trying to kill off malignant invaders.

The new lung cancer test, which has already been launched in the U.S., measures levels of six specific antibodies known to be linked to lung cancer.

The company, based at Nottingham Hospital, hope to release a breast cancer detection test next year that could detect signs of tumour development up to four years earlier than a mammogram. They are also looking at developing tests for prostate, colon and ovarian cancer.