K-State researchers develop test for early cancer detection

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Two Kansas State University researchers said they've come up with a test to detect the early signs of cancer.

Dr. Stefan Bossman is doing everything he can to help others with the disease while teaching at K-State. He and fellow professor Dr. Deryl Troyer have developed a blood test that can tell you if you have lung or breast cancer before it's too late.

"We usually don't have any signs of having cancer until this cancer has been with us five, 10, 15 years, and then it's basically everywhere," Dr. Bossman said.

"With cancer therapy, half the battle is early detection and the primary cancer doesn't kill the patient, very seldom kills the patient, its metastatic lesions, metastasis," Dr. Troyer added.

The test looks for increased enzyme activity by combining a mixture of iron nano-particles and amino acids with small amounts of blood from the patient. Bossman said for those that already have cancer, the test can tell if chemotherapy is working.

"With a test like that we can see whether chemo hurts the cancer cells because the enzyme levels go down if the cancer is dying," Dr. Bossman said.

The results of this test could mean fine tuning therapy levels. The test has already worked on 32 patients.

"There's a potential that it could save about half the mortalities because of cancer that we have," Dr. Bossman said.

He's hopeful the tests could be available in doctors' offices within the next five years. Bossman and Troyer also hope to expand the test to pancreatic cancer screening.

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