A simple blood test developed at the University of Nottingham to identify lung cancer at an early stage is to be trialled by the NHS on thousands of smokers. It is hoped the test could spot disease up to four years earlier than current scanning methods, saving thousands of lives.
The new screening programme will involve 10,000 patients in Scotland identified as having a higher risk of developing lung cancer. The test works by detecting antibodies which the body produces in response to cancer. It means doctors can make a diagnosis well before the symptoms appear.
The test has been developed by a team of researchers led by John Robertson, professor of surgery at the University of Nottingham. He believes it can drastically cut death rates and reduce the need for more invasive treatments and hospital stays at a later stage, so saving the NHS money.
The Scottish trials will look at the cost-effectiveness of the tests.
Prof. Robertson hopes they will one day be used for the early detection of other cancers such as breast, prostate and stomach.