Two new DNA based tests could help most people avoid colonoscopies if they are ultimately approved by the FDA after completing clinical trials and testing. Colon cancer is diagnosed in approximately 150,000 people per year in the US.
Exact Sciences of Madison, WI uses stool samples, and searches for the presence of four altered genes that are diagnostic indicators of colon cancer. This test could catch cancerous and precancerous tumors at an early stage, when they are still curable. Doctors could then remove them promptly. Exact Sciences hopes to complete a trial in 2012 and the test, if approved by the FDA could be available shortly thereafter.
Epigenomics AG of Germany has developed another test that searches in blood for changes in a single gene, Septin 9. This single gene is not in the Exact Sciences’ panel of genes.
Both tests could be less expensive than a colonoscopy, and would presumably have better compliance because many people avoid colonoscopies due to their invasive nature and unpleasant preparation.
To read more about these tests please refer to the NY Times article by Nicholas Wade dated 10/29/10 by clicking here.