Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have stated that in the future cancer cells in their infancy or earliest stages may be detected with a simple blood test. The research at Stanford focused on using customized DNA and forcing cancer cells in mice to produce a substance that marks the cell, making it more easily identifiable in a blood sample. This research could ultimately result in a diagnostic testing process whereby one could diagnose cancer before it progresses beyond Stage 1 (its earliest stage, where spread of the disease is typically negligible and a patient’s prognosis is usually excellent).
This research is in no way new. Scientists and doctors have been using naturally occurring biomarkers to diagnose and treat patients for years. However, this research is different in that it causes a cell to actually create a “biomarker” which would not otherwise naturally occur. These new biomarkers are easily identifiable compared to those which otherwise occur in cancer cells.
The Stanford team is hopeful that a “pill” or other mode of delivering the customized DNA can be developed. That “pill,” taken by a patient, would force cancer cells to create the “marker” which would show up on blood testing. This might allow for diagnosis of cancer long before it has any clinical manifestations.
Unfortunately, efficacy in this medical technology at the level referenced is some time off. Today we must rely upon astute healthcare providers to be aware of the signs, symptoms, clinical presentations and patient and/or familial histories associated with disease processes, including those related to various cancers. It is that level of awareness, required by the standard of care, which guides healthcare providers to order proper and timely testing in an effort to diagnose cancer as soon as possible; increasing a patient’s chance of survival and minimizing the treatment required.
When a healthcare provider fails to heed or recognize the significance of a patient’s clinical presentation and/or history, fails to order timely diagnostic studies, misinterprets the results of diagnostic studies or otherwise departs from the standards of care resulting in a delay in the diagnosis of cancer, it may result in a progression of the disease with worsened prognosis, and the need for more extensive treatment. In the worst case scenarios, a patient may die from cancer which might have been almost wholly curable.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a negligent medical professional, it is important that you contact a New Jersey law firm that has extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases. Please contact Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari for a thorough consultation at no cost to you.