Dubai: A simple blood test can assess your risk of cancer years before the disease actually strikes, specialists said at a workshop on Sunday.
The preventive screening test that will cost between Dh2,500 and Dh4,500 could assess solid cancer risk, except that of the brain. It means blood cancers will not fall in its purview, but all other solid cancers can be preventively screened.
The Bio Sciences Clinic at Dubai Health Care City (DHCC), which specialises in harvesting adult stem cells, is offering liquid biopsy for pre-prodormal and pre-dormal stage assessment of cancer.
Dr Giuseppe Mucci, CEO and founder of the Bioscience Genomics and the Bioscience Clinic, Middle East said: “The liquid biopsy has been available for some time, but we developed the pre-cancer screening through liquid biopsy.”
Explaining how it works, he said: “Our body goes through break down of cells and repair continuously but when our body is unable to repair the De Oxy Ribo Nucleic Acid or DNA (which provides a chromosomal blueprint of our cells), then mutation occurs. In our blood, there is circulating free DNA, circulating tumour cell DNA. Our Hexalife is a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology which does frequency mutation monitoring through a sophisticated softwae and picks up mutations for solid cancers before these progress. This is the stage between normal and mutated cells and is called the pre-dormal and prodromal stages.”
Once the biopsy detects a mutation, then cancer targeted stem cell therapy can be directed to address the issue even before the cancer occurs.”
Dr Mucci added that in many cancers this prodromal stage was could extend from 5-15 years. For instance in lung cancer it extended from 20-40 years, in cervix cancers 9-13 yeaes, in prostrate between 5-20 years. Usually tumours in cancer are very silent and asymptomatic to be discovered in the final stages by then it is too late to treat.
Dr Mucci said everyone can undergo the liquid biopsy, but those exposed to smoking or passive smoking, had unhealthy lifestyles, women on hormonal treatments or those with genetic predispositions were ideal candidates for this preventive screening test.
“But this method which falls in the bio molecular pathology field helps pick up the mutation and treating the mutation can help prevent cancer altogether. One can compare it to a fever. If you take medicine for high temperature it will only bring down your temperature, but if you know the reason for the temperature and treat your infection then you can eliminate the origin of your fever. The biopsy enables you to identify and treat the mutation which can later to lead to a solid cancer,” added Dr Mucci.
So far the technique which was developed an year ago has helped detect several thousands patients in prodromal stages at the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland that collaborated with the BioSceince Clinic.
In the UAE, the clinic is yet to enter into talks with health insurances to cover this test.