A team lead by scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research have developed a new test based on genetic barcoding technology that can differentiate between the five distinct types of bowel cancer.

Dr Anguraj Sadanandam

This test, which sequences 38 genes, takes only a few hours to give a diagnosis, which will represent a significant improvement over existing technologies, which can take months. The test works by isolating and identifying the specific gene activities typical of the different forms of colorectal cancer with extremely high accuracy. If this new and innovative testing method makes it into the clinic it will allow patients to receive tailored treatments at a faster and cheaper rate.
Despite being in the early stages of research, the team is now planning further work to study how best to integrate the application of this diagnostic tool into everyday use. Dr Anguraj Sadanandam, Team Leader in Systems and Precision Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has said: “Our research has brought bowel cancer testing closer to the clinic, where we hope it will soon start making a difference for patients.”
These findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, were supported by funds from the Rosetrees Trust, the Institute of Cancer Research itself and Cancer Research UK.

Ione Goodwin