Australian scientists have developed a simple blood test for bowel cancer

Photo: Fred Tanneau/ AFP/Getty Images.

A more accurate blood test for bowel cancer, improving the chances of early detection and successful treatment, has been developed by Australian scientists.

The test, called Colvera, is the result of a collaboration between Australia’s peak science organisation, the CSIRO, Flinders University and Clinical Genomics, and Australian biotech company.

Almost 15,000 new cases of bowel cancer are diagnosed in Australia each year and more than 4000 die from it. Another 50,000 are living with the disease.

The disease resurfaces in 30% to 50% of cases, usually in the first two to three years following treatment.

The current method of monitoring for recurrence is through a blood test known for producing false-positive results related to non-cancer events such as smoking.

CSIRO Scientist Dr Trevor Lockett says the new test increases the likelihood of detecting curable recurrences. The test can indicate early molecular changes associated with cancer development.

“It’s (the test) a real success story of science partnering with industry,” he says. The test can indicate early molecular changes associated with cancer development.

Colvera is now available in the US through Clinical Genomics’ New Jersey laboratory. It is expected to be available in Australia early as next year.

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