Jump to content

Laser test may detect lung cancer earlier

Recommended Posts

http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArt ... ID=1531615

Yorkshire trials bring new hope

David Hogg

A LASER-guided lung cancer treatment tested in Yorkshire has proved a success in detecting almost 20 per cent more potential cases than current methods, researchers have claimed.

Blue light from lasers is more effective at identifying abnormal cells in the lungs than natural light – the current detection system – studies show.

Although the researchers remain cautious, they say their findings raise the possibility that thousands of extra lives could be saved each year by catching the disease earlier.

When the Yorkshire Laser Centre in Goole trialled the new "blue laser" treatment with heavy smokers and others at a potentially higher risk of lung cancer they found it picked up microscopic changes in affected cells – even in people whose X-rays showed no sign of the disease.

In fact, one in six smokers in the study showed early signs of cancer that would otherwise have probably gone undetected until much later by normal methods.

The work was based on knowledge that the laser's blue light can detect the pre-cancerous cells, as they absorb it at a different frequency to white light.

Prof Keyvan Moghissi, who headed the study, said the technology had been pioneered in Canada but only used previously on patients who had already developed the disease.

Prof Moghissi said: "Out of the blue we have a group of people who look absolutely normal, but we have detected in many of them something that looks like the first steps of cancer.

"Of course, combined with an effective screening programme of those considered at risk this could save thousands of lives because it is still at the reversible stage when we detect it."

Lung cancer is one of the biggest cancer killers, claiming more than 30,000 lives each year in this country. More people die worldwide from lung cancer than any other type of the disease.

Standard treatment for lung cancer over the past 40 years has been the trio of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Of these, surgery remains the initial treatment in 80 per cent of cases.

Eight out of 10 people with early-stage cancer who undergo surgery live for at least another five year,s but more than 80 per cent of all cases are inoperable because they are caught too late.

The scientists believe further research is now needed to evaluate the significance of their findings.

But they said it was clear that the earlier treatment could be provided, such as with other medical laser techniques like photo-dynamic therapy, the greater the chance of treating patients successfully.

n Late-stage tumours have the ability to turn the immune system against itself, new research shows.

The findings suggest another way in which cancer manages to survive and spread in the body.

Tumours produce many types of abnormal proteins. Some enable them to grow rapidly, while others affect the immune system.

In some cases, tumours generate "beacons" that alert the immune system and invite an attack from the body's defences.

This may be responsible for some reports of "miraculous" recoveries of patients.

But one tumour protein has an opposite effect when overproduced. It can spur otherwise helpful immune system cells to become agents of sabotage.

Instead of performing their job of activating other kinds of immune cell, the altered cells suppress them.

The discovery was reported in the journal Nature Immunology by Dr Thomas Spies, who is based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.


29 May 2006

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.