February 6, 2006
Thousands of Americans died last year alone from bladder cancer. Now, for nearly 2 years a medical team from the University of Virginia has been working to find a test that detects the cancer 100% of the time.
Although it will take another two years to have the tests in Dr.'s offices nationwide, those that have worked on the new tests are optimistic about their findings and excited about the outcome.
Bladder Cancer is one of the most common cancers and often difficult to diagnose, but a group of researchers at the University of Virginia have come up with a test that will make diagnosing the disease easier.
"We're able to distinguish bladder cancer from many other disease conditions that can mimic bladder cancer," said Dr. Dan Theodorescu, Urologist, UVA.
The test uses a machine called a mass spectrometer to separate, measure and analyze molecules in samples of urine provided by patients.
"This can measure the weight or the mass of molecules, so at the molecular stage," said Mark Ross, Ph.D., Chemist, UVA.
This makes it easier to diagnose bladder cancer while weeding out false detections.
Dr. Theodorescu says, "This test was very specific. For example, it was able to pick up all of the 30 cancers we had in our study group and none of the controls were picked up as cancer."
As more patients undergo this new bladder cancer test, the more accurate the test will become. This will ultimately make early detection a reality for many.
Dr. Theodorescu said,"Ideally where we want to be in a few years is to be able to predict patients that will be developing bladder cancer or have very small bladder cancers that are currently not detected by any other means."
The study was part of the Paul Mellon Prostate Cancer Institute as well as a partnership with a medical team in Germany. This was a collaboration with researchers, doctors, and patients who participated in the study.