Simple Blood Test Detects Early Pancreatic Cancer

A test that spots pancreatic cancer from a single drop of blood could improve survival rates. The first blood test for early diagnosis of the hard-to-spot disease, it could be available within monthsPancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of the common cancers, with 7.3 per cent of patients alive five years after diagnosis, compared to 58.4 per cent of bowel cancer patients and 85 per cent of breast cancer patients.

The disease is one of the hardest to diagnose early. This is partly because the pancreas — a pear-shaped gland that makes digestive juices and hormones including insulin — is hidden behind the stomach, making it difficult for tumours to be felt or seen on scans. It also doesn’t usually cause symptoms in the early stages — when they do occur, the signs, such as stomach or back pain, weight loss and indigestion, can be vague and easily confused with conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Treatments include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy but their effectiveness hinges on early diagnosis. Caught early, before the disease has spread to other organs, up to 25 per cent of patients will live for at least five years. If the disease has spread, average survival is two to six months.

The new test, developed by Swedish biotech firm Immunovia and being trialled on 2,000 people at University College London Hospital, and 20 other centres in the U.S., Spain and Sweden, looks for signs of the disease in patient’s blood. These include different levels of around 30 proteins and other compounds identified by the Swedish scientists.

They provide a distinct chemical fingerprint of the disease. The test picks out the compounds using antibodies that latch on to individual chemicals: sophisticated scanning equipment is then used to measure their levels. Previous research shows the test is 96 per cent accurate in spotting people with early-stage pancreatic cancers.

Source: https://immunovia.com/
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Non Invasive Breathing Aid From Mercedes Formula One

A new version of a breathing aid that can help coronavirus patients has been developed in less a week by a team involving Mercedes Formula One, and is being trialed at London hospitals.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices have been used in China and Italy to deliver air and oxygen under pressure to patients’ lungs to help them breathe without the need for them to go on a ventilator, a more invasive process.

The new CPAP has already been approved by the relevant regulator and now 100 of the machines will be delivered to University College London Hospital (UCLH) for trials, before being rolled out to other hospitals.

Reports from Italy indicate that approximately 50% of patients given CPAP have avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation, which involves patients being sedated, freeing up ventilators for those more in need.

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These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill,” UCLH critical care consultant Professor Mervyn Singer said in a statement.

We hope they will make a real difference to hospitals across the UK by reducing demand on intensive care staff and beds, as well as helping patients recover without the need for more invasive ventilation.”

Source: www.reuters.com