A new blood test that can detect prostate cancer in high-risk patients has been developed by a research team at Mahidol University in Thailand.
The condition often develops slowly over many years, making early detection difficult due to lack of symptoms.
Each year, one million men in the US undergo biopsies to determine whether they have prostate cancer, a procedure traditionally guided by ultrasound imaging.
However, the new blood test isolates and visualises tumour-associated circulating endothelial cells (tCEC) — cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels — using a ten millilitre sample, according to study lead Dr Sebastian Bhakdi.
He said: “Tumour-associated circulating endothelial cells are highly promising biomarkers for the detection of early-stage cancers because they are thought to derive directly from a tumour’s own blood vessels.
“Unfortunately, however, they are extremely rare and almost indiscernible from normal blood cells, which is why they have been considered undetectable in routine laboratories until now.” – NS Medical Devices