5 Nov 2012

Blood test developed to identify bowel cancer

1:04 pm on 5 November 2012

Scientists in Australia say they've developed a blood test which can identify bowel cancer.

While current tests are effective, the ABC reports the take-up rate is low, with many people choosing not to be screened.

Researchers from the CSIRO and Clinical Genomics say they have developed a blood test which can pick up the presence of bowel tumours.

Researcher Larry La Pointe said they have identified a group of genes which are modified in patients who have colorectal cancer.

"The breakthrough is that we have been able to identify the changes in the blood of those patients," he said.

Blood tests on almost 300 people showed it was more than 70% accurate in picking up the presence of tumours.

"That means in patients with the disease, we were able to identify it three out of four times," Mr La Pointe said.

The ABC reports the test is being trialled on 3000 patients and could be available as early as next year.

Scientists are hopeful the development will encourage more people to get tested.