A Blood Test to Predict Time of Death in the Making

Did you know medical science can predict death when you enter the last year of life?. The prediction is fairly accurate in most of the cases. However, predicting such results over a longer timeframe, for instance, five to ten years, is still out of reach. 

A team of researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center in Netherlands and Brunel University London in the UK, think they have a solution. The team has recently published its research paper in the Nature Communications Journal.

The scientists believe a specific blood test will help project an individual’s survival in the coming five to ten years. Further, researchers also think that this will revolutionize the way doctors treat their patients. And help them make important decisions within time.

Biggest Study of Its Kind

The research team is trying to identify biomarkers in the bloodstream that will help achieve the objective. Also, the study has the biggest sample audience in its field of research – 44,158 people between 18 and 109 years. During the follow up, researchers found that around 5,512 individuals have died.

Initially, the team determined the metabolic makers related to human mortality. With this data they created a scoring system to estimate when a person may die. In the next step, they tested the reliability of the system by comparing with the standard risk factor model.

This study allowed the research team to identify and settle down of 14 biomarkers that are independently associated with human mortality. If a person has higher concentrations of some of these 14 biomarkers such as leucine, valine, and histidine, they are at a lower risk of mortality.

Conversely, if the individual has lower concentrations of others such as lactate, phenylalanine, and glucose, they are at increased risk of mortality.

Vital Development in Test for Cancer Detection before Symptoms Start

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are actively working towards developing a novel test that can diagnose cancer in a human much before its first symptoms show up. According to the team of researchers, the blood test successfully diagnosed cancer in a majority of people suffering from breast, lung, colon, and ovarian cancer.

“Although the test has to cover a long way before actually being utilized to screen for cancer, the study provides a path to go there,” reported the team in the journal Science Translational Medicine. “A lot of enthusiasm regarding liquid biopsies is there; however, most of that is in late-stage cancer or in patients where one already knows what to look for,” stated Dr. Victor Velculescu of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University. “The most surprising result is that the team could accurately detect a large part of early-stage patients with alterations in their blood,” he added further.

The test could diagnose cancer in the blood stream of more than half of the patients, who are having the first stage of cancer. The accuracy level of this test is much higher in case of late-stage cancer; however, the aim is to detect cancer in its earliest stage, where it is easiest to treat. One of the most significant fact that come up in this study was that there was no false positive in any of the 44 people, who underwent this test but did not have cancer.