Barbadian doctors said Friday they are on the verge of groundbreaking research on a test for the illness which they believe could significantly reduce the prostate cancer epidemic and remove the often-daunting rectal examination to find the disease.
Researchers here have developed a cancer testing mechanism with 95 per cent accuracy, which can easily be done with a “finger-prick of blood, according to Professor of Medicine at Yale University Irvin Modlin.
He was speaking to journalists moments after updating professors from the University of the West Indies School of Medicine, the Chronic Disease Research Centre and other officials with details of the cancer breakthrough.
Modlin explained the new technique, called liquid biopsy, measures the genes found within tumours allowing doctors to predict and diagnose cancer earlier, more accurately and effectively. It also explains how a particular tumour is likely to develop and how it should be treated.
“This technique is so sensitive it could pick up tumours two to three years before they can be identified by imagery and other types of available technology, allowing people to pick up the disease at a much earlier time point making it easier to cure,” Professor Modern said.
The technique has reportedly been used in dozens of medical centres across the United States and Europe and researchers intend to open relationships with Israel and some sections of the South African population.
The professor’s interest in testing the technique in Barbados, is because the island’s black, male population has one of the highest number and most aggressive incidents of prostate cancer in the world, particularly because most cases are detected when it’s too late.
Professor Modlin, who has agreed to carry out the programme free of charge along with Vice President of the Barbados Cancer Society Professor David Rosin explained professionals who have done very well professionally are looking to give back and agreed to fund the project.
Rosin said: “Some people have financial backing, others have intellectual backing and others have time and resources.
“It is based purely on the interest of wanting to make sure that average persons get highly effective treatment and you shouldn’t have to be a multi-millionaire to get the most sophisticated treatment in the world.”
Professor Rosin indicated the Barbados Cancer Society is very interested in implementing the programme but officials from the academic community must first review the proposal.
After that review is completed, he anticipates it will be started in the coming weeks as long as Barbadian men come forward and agree to the new test.
Describing it as the most groundbreaking news in the field for a long time, Professor Rosin explained the new tests would help tremendously with mapping out how aggressive cancer treatment should be.
He revealed the current prostate-screening programme is based on a traditional blood test and literal examination of the prostate gland, but is not very accurate.
“We should be able to diagnose a lot earlier, we will know how to treat aggressive and non aggressive treatment. I am very excited about it and we are looking to working closely on the initiative,” he explained.