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Medical News Today (MNT)AI Tool May Help Detect Cancer in a Few Minutes with a Drop of Blood

A new AI-powered test using dried blood spots offers a quicker, cheaper, and potentially more accurate method for cancer detection, particularly benefiting low-income regions.

Researchers in China have developed an AI-powered dried blood spot test that may revolutionize cancer diagnostics. This innovative test, which focuses on detecting cancer-related metabolic changes, offers a quick, cost-effective, and accurate alternative to current diagnostic methods, particularly for pancreatic, gastric, and colorectal cancers. The potential benefits are significant for low-income countries where access to advanced medical facilities is limited.

Key Points:

  • Research and Development:
    • Scientists have created an experimental test using AI and dried blood spots to diagnose cancer.
    • The test specifically targets pancreatic, gastric, and colorectal cancers.
  • Efficiency and Accuracy:
    • Sensitivity ranges from 82–100%, outperforming current whole blood tests (50–80% sensitivity).
    • Results are obtained in a matter of minutes.
  • Cost-Effectiveness:
    • The test is significantly cheaper and faster than current diagnostic techniques.
    • Dried blood spots do not require temperature-controlled storage, reducing transportation costs.
    • Example: Shipping 100 dried blood spot tests from Gansu to Shanghai costs $0.32, compared to $3.42 for liquid serum specimens.
  • Practical Implications:
    • The test’s simplicity and cost-effectiveness make it particularly suitable for low-income regions.
    • Local health workers can perform the test, which does not require expensive facilities or equipment.
    • Could significantly reduce the rate of undiagnosed cancer cases in underserved populations.
  • Technological Approach:
    • Utilizes nanoparticle-enhanced laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (NPELDI MS) for analysis.
    • Focuses on detecting stable cancer-related metabolic changes rather than traditional markers.
  • Study Results and Validation:
    • Initial tests conducted on a few hundred samples from known cancer patients.
    • Further validation needed through large-scale studies before clinical implementation.
  • Potential Impact:
    • If widely implemented, could reduce undiagnosed cases of colorectal, pancreatic, and gastric cancers significantly.
    • Particularly beneficial for developing countries with limited access to diagnostic facilities.

In 2012, 65% of all cancer deaths globally occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), an estimate that is projected to increase to 75% by 2030. (Journal of Global Oncology)

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