A team of scientists from the University of Hasselt and the Limbourg-Est medical centre (Genk) have perfected a new process allowing them to detect lung cancer in a blood sample. “There is a long way to go before we can use this method widely, but first results are already very encouraging,” said Dr Evelyne Louis.
Lung cancer is one the most commonly diagnosed in Belgium. It is currently identified with conventional imaging techniques, which are not always reliable. Dr Evelyne Louis perfected a method based on cell metabolism as part of her doctoral thesis.
“Cancer cells multiply faster than normal cells. Their metabolism goes awry,” she explains. “I tried to find out if we could detect this change in the blood thanks to a new technique, and we managed to distinguish healthy patients and patients with lung cancer with a simple blood sample.”
Data show the new technique could lead to reliable results and is both faster and cheaper. But more testing must be done before it can be used. A large-scale clinical trial will soon be underway to study patients at high risk of lung cancer.