Education Game-changing blood test could stop silent killer

Game-changing blood test could stop silent killer

Ovarian cancer kills more than 1000 Australian women and 150,000 worldwide each year.

Labelled as the silent killer, ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of female reproductive cancers, is extremely difficult detect in its early stages and often involves radical treatments like hysterectomies.

Now, researchers from The University of Adelaide have developed a new blood test that could help halt the deadly advance of the disease and significantly improve early detection.

“Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages, when there are more options for treatment and survival rates are better,” says Professor James Paton, Director of The University of Adelaide’s Research Centre for Infectious Diseases.

“Our new test is therefore a potential game changer.”

The breakthrough is based on a bacterial toxin first discovered in Adelaide.

The researchers have been studying the interactions between the toxin and an abnormal glycan, or sugar, found on the surface of human cancer cells and released into the blood.

The team has engineered a harmless portion of the toxin that can be applied to the cancer glycan and used this to detect it in blood samples from women with ovarian cancer.

The new test will require further testing before it is available to clinicians.

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