Blood test gives hope for bowel cancer patients
A NEW, more accurate bowel cancer blood test could lead to a reduction in the number of deaths from the disease.
Called the Colevera test, it increases the likelihood of detecting curable recurrences of bowel cancer, improving the chances of survival.
The Colvera test is the result of a collaboration between CSIRO, Flinders University and Clinical Genomics which have launched the product in the United States.
Bowel cancer, which is also referred to as colorectal cancer, accounts for more than 600,000 deaths worldwide annually, with almost 15,000 new cases diagnosed in Australia each year.
In 30 to 50% of the cases the disease recurs, usually in the first two to three years following initial diagnosis and treatment.
The current method of monitoring recurrence is through a blood test for CEA, together with CT scans and other clinical assessments.
CSIRO scientist Dr Trevor Lockett said providing clinicians with the Colvera blood test, which is more sensitive for recurrence than CEA, increases the likelihood of detecting curable recurrences of bowl cancer.
Dr Lockett attributed the successful launch of Colvera in the USA to the long-standing collaboration between the three parties and the investment in research and development at an early stage.
"It's a real success story of science partnering with industry to create impact, and has provided an excellent learning opportunity for researchers to see science being applied with a business and intense product focus," Dr Lockett said.
President and CEO of Clinical Genomics Colvera, Lawrence LaPointe, said the test could indicate early molecular changes associated with cancer development.
"It is intended to provide physicians with actionable information that can trigger further clinical assessment, which may lead to improved outcomes," Dr LaPointe said.
Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer's Professor Graeme Young said current professional guidelines recommended the combination of the test for CEA with regularly scheduled CT scans for detection of recurrence in bowel cancer patients.
"However, CEA has not proven to be as effective as we would like and is subject to false-positive results related to non-cancer events such as smoking," Prof Young said.
"Our study has shown that Colvera is significantly more sensitive for bowel cancer than CEA and as such provides us with an improved, simple test that increases the likelihood of detecting curable recurrence."