Scientists in Japan have developed the world’s first test that can detect cancers in patient urine samples.
The breakthrough technology by Japanese researchers from engineering firm Hitachi has been in development for two years and it may be made available by 2020.
According to Agence France-Presse, the research team will work with Nagoya University to analyze 250 urine samples to check for breast, colon, and childhood forms of the disease in central Japan. The experiments will begin this month and end in September.
Breast cancer is usually diagnosed via a mammogram and then a biopsy if a risk is detected, while colon cancer is found via a stool test and followed by a colonoscopy.
The new diagnosis method works by detecting waste materials that can be “biomarkers” for forms of the disease in the urine samples.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” Hitachi representative Chiharu Odaira was quoted as saying.
He noted that the method will especially be beneficial for small children who are afraid of needles. Odaira added that the system will help save lives and minimize medical costs by detecting cancer early.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.
A new blood test developed earlier this year is able to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they even spread in the body.