New blood tests to detect brain cancer could be in hospitals within three years

A low-cost blood test for the early detection of brain cancer could be in UK hospitals with three years, according to researchers.

ClinSpec Diagnostics Limited is developing the new technology, which would give doctors an accurate test for the disease and reduce delays in referral times.

Brain cancer is very difficult to detect and diagnose – with the main symptom being a headache – and reduces life expectancy more than any other tumour type.

The firm, which is based at the University of Strathclyde, believes the potentially life-saving tests could be used in UK hospitals within three to four years.

Matthew Baker, a researcher, said: “It’s exciting to be able to move the science from the laboratory to the clinic and I look forward to releasing the test for patients.

“Strathclyde is known for its innovative environment, which fosters research that makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

“Today marks an important milestone for Clinspec Diagnostics and the health services it will support – and ultimately the patients and families that will benefit from the test.”

Currently, 38% of patients have to visit their GP more than five times before being diagnosed with brain cancer – and 62% are only diagnosed in an emergency.

Brain cancer reduces life expectancy on average by 20 years.

The new blood test could indicate the type and severity of the tumour, allowing doctors to prioritise and fast-track the most appropriate and effective treatments.

Clinical studies are under way now in Edinburgh to speed up the development of the technology.

Further blood tests are also being developed by the company for other diseases, such as pancreatic and prostate cancer.

Scotland’s Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “The blood test demonstrates significant advancements in cancer detection methods, and will play a vital role in helping to save lives.

“This technology also paves the way for similar blood tests to be developed in the future for other diseases.

“By supporting this promising university spin-out, the Scottish Government is helping to translate key research outputs into practical medical innovations.”