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Research Points to New Test for Detecting Early Bladder Cancer

Spectroscopic technique identifies cancerous tissue (Oct. 13)

Research conducted at the University of Dundee in Scotland has raised hopes of developing a quicker and more reliable method of detecting urinary bladder cancer at an earlier stage, according to an October 3 announcement.

A team at the university's School of Medicine has found that a technique known as Raman spectroscopy (RS) shows promise in diagnosing bladder cancer. At present, the most reliable way to test for this type of cancer is to perform a biopsy on tissue removed from the patient's bladder. Possible side effects of this procedure include bleeding, discomfort, and infection, and patients must wait 2 weeks for the biopsy results.

RS is a spectroscopic technique used to study human tissue. A laser in RS equipment can detect changes in the structure of tissue by measuring interactions — an application with significant potential for diagnosing cancer at an early stage.

The study, which was published in Analytical & Biological Chemistry, included 14 patients who presented with symptoms of bladder cancer. The diagnosis made using RS was consistent with biopsy results in 13 cases.

The researchers’ next step is to make a telescopic probe that can tell whether the patient has cancer as soon as the probe touches tissue inside the bladder.

For more information, visit the University of Dundee Web site.

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