Scientists are hopeful a more accurate blood test for colorectal cancer may lead to fewer deaths
Scientists are hopeful a more accurate blood test for colorectal cancer may lead to fewer deaths from the disease.
The new test, called Colvera, was developed jointly by the CSIRO, Flinders University and Australian-based biotechnology company Clinical Genomics, and was launched in the US this month.
Colvera is aimed at more accurately diagnosing the recurrence of colorectal cancer after the initial diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Colorectal cancer reoccurs in as much as 30% to 50% of cases.
Currently, testing for recurrence involves blood testing for CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) and CT scans, as well as other clinical assessments.
CEA results, however, can be subject to false-positives related to non-cancer events, such as smoking.
“By providing clinicians with a new blood test that is more sensitive for recurrence than CEA, Colvera increases the likelihood of detecting recurrences of colorectal cancer,” CSIRO scientist Dr Trevor Lockett said.
The test could indicate early molecular changes associated with cancer development, Clinical Genomics Colvera chief executive Dr Lawrence LaPointe said.
“It is intended to provide physicians with actionable information that can trigger further clinical assessment, which may lead to improved outcomes,” Dr LaPointe said.
It is hoped that Colvera will be available in Australia by next year.
Colorectal cancer is responsible for more than 600,000 deaths annually worldwide. There are around 15,000 new cases detected each year in Australia.