According to The Asahi Shimbun, breast and colon cancers may soon be detected through non-invasive urine tests in a technique developed by Hitachi Ltd., Sumitomo Corp. and Summit Pharmaceuticals International Corp.
The new process, announced by the companies on June 14, could become a game changer in the fight against the diseases.
It would enable a simple testing process where potential patients can post urine samples taken at home to medical facilities for examination, leading to easy and early diagnoses. The firms plan to have the method ready for practical use within a few years.
“Cancer checkups today need to be done at medical facilities, and different methods are used for each area of the body,” said Minoru Sakairi, a chief scientist at Hitachi’s Centre for Exploratory Research. “If cancers could be detected through urine samples, there would be less stress on the examinee’s body and an increased number of opportunities for examinations.”
Researchers with the companies came up with the process by comparing the 1,300 or so sugars, lipids and other substances released from the body in urine samples taken from 15 healthy people, 15 breast cancer patients and 15 colon cancer patients.
The study revealed that the three groups can be distinguished by comparing around 10 of those substances.
The scientists plan to continue with their research to determine if the process could also detect the progression of the illness and if other types of cancers could be identified.
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