Researchers at the VUMC Cancer Center Amsterdam have developed a ground breaking technique that can detect different types of cancer at an early stage from a single drop of blood.

Current cancer detection methods usually rely on scans and tissue biopsies, which are time consuming, difficult and often expensive. CT scans for example can only detect relatively large tumors that are usually in advanced stages. The ability to detect cancer in the blood, also called liquid biopsy, is a major advantage for the early diagnosis and detection of cancer cells.

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Tom Würdinger, lead researcher, and his team discovered that thrombocytes or platelets in the blood from cancer patients contain unique RNA markings, which helps carry out DNA’s blueprint instructions, of the specific tumor. Platelets are responsible for the proper coagulation of the blood, but recent studies show, that platelets also play an important role in tumor growth and metastasis of the cancer. The platelets of patients with cancer cells contain unique RNA-patterns which makes it possible to distinguish between healthy individuals and people that have cancer with a 96% certainty for most types of cancer.

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