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I thought I would post here since others may be just as angered as I am about attitudes toward LC screening. Please correct me if I'm wrong but the only two I'm aware of are sputum tests (no new advances there!!!) and Spiral CT scan ( ins. refuses to pay!!) I know the argument the med prof has about using the ct scan to screen but that argument seems very circular. They say the key to success in tx is early detection as in the case of breast, colon , prostate, etc BUT there ARE screening tests for those types of cancer but how does the med prof propose early detection of lung CA. Sorry to ramble but the attitude about early detection or the lack thereof for Lung CA is ALL wrong and costing people their lives or if treatment helps it's a long hard road because the ca isn't found, often, until it's advanced BECAUSE of lack of screening.

MODERATOR..... if this topic is addressed in another forum please let me know or move my post to the appropriate forum. Thanks.

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Blood test for lung cancer may be close

Source: (cancerfacts.com)

Monday, July 17, 2006

ROCKVILLE, MD – July 17, 2006 – A blood test may be able to detect lung cancer much earlier than the most accurate imaging systems now used, say researchers.

Led by Drs. Edward Hirschowitz and Li Zhong, of the University of Kentucky, a research team has developed a blood test that assesses multiple markers in the blood able to detect non-small cell lung cancer. If the reliability of the test can be confirmed on larger numbers of patient samples, the company will seek to introduce what would be the first new blood screen for any cancer since the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test was introduced in the 1970s.

The test has already been licensed by the biotechnology company, 20/20 GeneSystems, which is developing biomarker systems for diagnostics, and therapeutics. Study findings were published in the current issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

"Our goal is to successfully create the first accurate blood test for lung cancer that can detect the disease years earlier than the current gold standard," said Jonathan Cohen, president and CEO, 20/20. "Currently, only 25 percent of non-small cell lung cancer is diagnosed at an early, curable stage. There is a compelling need for tools that lead to the detection of lung cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages."

In the study, the researchers used blood taken from patients several years before their tumors were picked up using CT scans. They tested these samples against sets of antibodies generated by the body's immune system in response to very early stage NSCLC. The researchers found that when certain antibodies were detected at specific levels in the blood, they could successfully predict non-small cell lung cancer about 85 percent of the time.

Based on the study, researchers estimated that lung cancer may be present 3-5 years before reaching the conventional size limits needed for diagnosis by current x-ray imaging systems, including CT scans.

"The data generated to date suggests that our panel delivers better combined sensitivity and specificity for detecting NSCLC than any other combination of biomarkers reported in the literature," said Zhong, lead author of the study.

"Clearly the specificity is far superior to CT scanning and chest X rays as our test correctly ruled out cancer in more than 87 percent of the non-cancer controls whereas CT screening has a false positive rate of more than 50 percent."

To put that level of accuracy in context, the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test used for years as a predictor of prostate cancer is accurate only between 18 percent and 36 percent of the time as a screen for prostate cancer. The conventional Pap test is 75 percent accurate in identifying cervical cancer; and the mammogram is about 33 percent accurate in detecting invasive breast cancer.

Many experts believe that early detection of lung cancer is key to improving survival. Past studies indicate that when the disease is detected in an early, localized stage and can be removed surgically the five-year survival rates can reach 85 percent. But these survival rates decline dramatically after the cancer has spread to other organs, especially to distant sites, whereupon as few as 2 percent of patients survive five years. Unfortunately, lung cancer is usually asymptomatic until it has reached an advanced stage. However, only 15% of lung cancers are found at an early, localized stage.

Chest X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scanning have been studied as potential screening tools to detect early stage lung cancers, however, the cost and high rate of false positives have been steep obstacles for widespread use.

"The University of Kentucky team used a novel approach in developing the test," said Cohen. "Rather than looking for a single protein antigen as with the widely administered PSA test, which has limited sensitivity and specificity, they instead identified a group of antibodies that the patient's immune system generates very early in the development of tumors."

This is the same technical approach used by the team developing a new prostate cancer test reported in the New England Journal of Medicine on Sep. 22, 2005.

SOURCE: 20/20 GeneSystems press release

Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 200

Study: 20/20's lung cancer test may be effective

Washington Business Journal - July 14, 2006by Neil AdlerStaff Reporter

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A study in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology shows that a test for detecting lung cancer being co-developed by 20/20 GeneSystems may prove more effective than current methods.

Rockville-based 20/20, a small biotech company founded in 2000, says the new study provides some evidence that its blood test may be able to detect non-small cell lung cancer much earlier and with more accuracy than CT scans, the most advanced existing technique for detecting the disease.

The reliability of the test must be confirmed in a larger patient population before privately held 20/20 can start selling the product. The company obtained exclusive rights to the test from the University of Kentucky last year, and is developing it with a research team led by Ed Hirschowitz and Li Zhong, from the university's division of pulmonary and critical-care medicine.

20/20 and the university are hoping to develop an effective diagnostic that would help identify lung cancer in smokers, former smokers and others at risk.

"Currently, only 25 percent of non-small cell lung cancer is diagnosed at an early, curable stage," says Jonathan Cohen, 20/20's president and CEO, in a statement.

"There is a compelling need for tools that lead to the detection of lung cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages."

The company and the university this week jointly received a $175,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda to support development of their lung-cancer test.

Cohen has said the test, if approved, could eventually generate annual revenue of $100 million.

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Thank you for such a fast reply and I will visit that website. Too bad the powers that be feel that the cost of screening is prohibitive but treatment at the advanced stage is not!! And why is LC treated at the advanced stage? Because there is no screening. That is what I mean by the med prof. circular argument. And the $175,000 from the NIH is a start but still a joke. That's peanuts compared to the funding that goes into other illness.

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A tumor needs to be of a certain size to show as questionable on an x-ray and most doctors will not order a CT scan "just because". I doubt I would have fit any criteria used for an early detection x-ray or CT - I'm a non-smoker.

A specific blood test would be nice, though.

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That is a very good point. So the tumor has to be large enough to show up on an xray and only THEN will the dr. consider ordering a CT scan. The ins. won't pay for the CT scan unless something shows up on the x-ray and by then it may be more advanced. So true but that goes back again to NO SCREENING. Early detection is suggested for other forms of cancer because the technology is there and not because you are at risk or showing any signs. Yet, sputum tests for early detection can be ordered but they're hardly ever used. Sputum tests may not be 100% accuate but neither are the other tests for prostate, breast, colon ca, etc. Lung ca kills more people than those cancers combined. And you don't have to smoke to get it.

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