Early Detection of a Silent Killer: Pancreatic Cancer
Because pancreatic cancer progresses rapidly, it is one of the most dangerous types of cancer. Unpreventable and hard to find early, the pancreas is deep inside the body, so early tumors can’t be seen or felt by healthcare providers during routine physical exams. People usually have no symptoms until the cancer has already spread to other organs.
Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths. Most pancreatic cancers are exocrine cancers and when diagnosed at stage 4 have a 5-year survival rate of about 1%. Early diagnosis at stage 1 can increase this to around 16%.
According to data from Pancreatic Cancer UK, over the 40 years to 2011 there has been little improvement to the survival rates of these cancers, however 2011-2015 showed a small but significant statistical improvement. Along with modest increases in one-year survival, improvements in early diagnosis are being cited as directly responsible for this encouraging trend, something which ANCON Medical is working to improve dramatically with their NBT technology.
Diagnosis of pancreatic cancers is currently only possible with a combination of image scanning, invasive endoscopic biopsies and blood tests, and this is where ANCON Medical’s advanced disease screening technology can be life-saving. Within the next 5 years, Nanoparticle Biomarker Tagging (NBT) technology will enable medical providers to identify pancreatic cancers, as well as a range of other diseases, simply by testing a patient’s breath. The results can alert doctors to the presence of the cancer and the need for further diagnosis, leading to life-saving treatment that can stop the cancer before it can progress.
The technology works by detecting breath specific “biomarkers,” which are DNA-protein controlled volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolites specific to diseases. By using machine learning software in association with the NBT technology the device can hunt for these specific molecules, so that the disease can be diagnosed early, thereby increasing treatment options and survival probability. No technology on the market is as highly sensitive at detecting biomarkers as NBT, which can detect the fingerprints of the disease at concentrations as low as one ion in 10,000 cubic centimeters, giving the device a sensitivity that could be measured down to a single molecule.
“The NBT device is very versatile. It can be used to screen for diseases such as pancreatic cancer and later be reassigned to test for a range of other diseases when needed,” says ANCON Medical’s CEO, Wesley Baker, who is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine. “Cancer, scleroderma, the Flu virus, tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are just some of the diseases where known biomarkers have been discovered, and ANCON’s NBT can improve the speed of diagnosis.”
For more information visit http://anconmedical.com/disease-screening/detection-of-cancer/.
Pancreatic Cancer UK: www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk
American Cancer Society: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/