By David Saunders | UPDATED: 05:28, 13 January 2020
Advancements in blood test technology in 2019 could mean that Alzheimer’s disease may be diagnosed from a blood test to detect levels of the protein amyloid beta, a key indicator of Alzheimer’s.
While another study indicates that blood tests could be used to screen for cancers returning by searching for the DNA of the previous cancer cells.
While advances such as these are important, the future of diagnosis is not in blood samples but breath. It is estimated that around 5% of people have a phobia of blood, and that 15% have a phobia of needles.
These figures are also likely to be higher than reported as people with the phobias are much more likely to avoid visiting the doctor altogether.
The vast majority of current diagnosis methods rely on the use of blood tests and invasive biopsies to accurately diagnose serious illnesses. These illnesses rely on early diagnosis for survivability, with survival rates varying from 90% to 10%.
Research from ANCON Medical has shown that around 50% of the UK have not visited a doctor in up to five years with 4.3million avoiding the doctor despite currently suffering from serious symptoms. Improving these figures could undoubtedly save lives and offering patients a non-invasive option for diagnosis could help make visiting the doctor far less stressful and easier. ANCON Medical are currently developing technology that diagnoses lung cancer through a patient’s breath in as little as 10 minutes.
Wesley Baker – CEO of ANCON Medical – discusses the future of diagnosis:
“These advances are exciting to see, but only apply to a very small section of the potential for diagnosis of these serious diseases and do not apply to new cancers. Not only this, but the tests remain invasive and samples continue to require lab analysis to determine the presence of cancer. These seemingly minor points create huge problems for medical professionals in terms of workload in processing samples and for patients when it comes to avoiding blood tests due to fears or anxiety as well as a lack of time.
The NBT technology that we are currently developing uses only a patient’s breath to give patients a diagnosis for a range of cancers and serious diseases at the point of care and within 10 minutes. The non-invasive nature of the technology and ease of use could revolutionise diagnosis and drastically reduce the time it takes to get an accurate diagnosis.”