Chinese scientists have invented a new test that can diagnose multiple kinds of cancer by analysing just a drop of human blood. Researchers at Tsinghua University’s School of Life Sciences developed the reagent (mixture) test kit of Hsp90a protein for clinical use. Previously, scientists had identified a kind of heat shock proteins (HSP), named Hsp90a, which exists in human bodies and can be used as a cancer biomarker. Researcher Luo Yongzhang and his team produced an artificial Hsp90a protein that gains structural stability by regrouping proteins. This means they are able to “create” the protein, in any quantity, and at any time they wish to, state-run CGTN TV reported.
The test kit was used in clinical trials involving 2,347 patients at eight hospitals in China. It was the first clinical trial in the world to test if the protein could be a useful tumour biomarker for lung cancer, and it succeeded, the report said. The kit has now been certified to enter the Chinese and European markets, 24 years after Hsp90a protein was discovered. Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.
In 2015, about 90.5 million people had cancer in the world, with roughly 14.1 million new cases occurring each year. About 8.8 million human deaths, or 15.7 per cent of all deaths in the world, are caused by cancer. In China alone, 4.29 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and 2.8 million of them died in that year.