Advances in gene technology now allow us to identify abnormal growths related to Colorectal Cancer (CRC) with a simple blood test. This means stool screening and things like colonoscopies can now be deferred.
The new test has been developed by Synlab, Europe’s largest medical laboratory diagnostic operator. Currently it’s only available at London Medical.
Septina9 is a simple blood test which detects the presence of a certain form of the SEPT9 gene. This passes into the blood and is detected in plasma in over 90% of colon tumours. The change in form of this gene is an early process in the development of the tumor, and therefore the test detects the new growth even in the early stages.
The test is recommended for men and women without symptoms from 50 years onwards, as well as those who don’t already have routine colonoscopies established through the CRC screening program.
London Medical’s Dr Abraham explains:
“The Septina9 test is a real step forward in CRC screening. I hope we can use it for early detection of a cancer that can be successfully treated. It will help those who have a family history of the disease. For around 25% of bowel cancers diagnosed in the UK, there’s a family history.”
“It’s a simple blood test, so it’s more acceptable for patients to do rather than faecal samples needed for FOBt. It’s also easy to repeat every year or two years, which improves the test’s acceptance by the patients and their adherence to screening programs for CRC. However, it does not replace colonoscopy, which is still the diagnostic test recommended for identifying CRC, and for the follow-up of people with personal and/or family history of CRC.”
“Septina9 doesn’t breach a patient’s privacy or require preparation or previous special dietary adjustment. It has a high level of accuracy and detects all kinds of CRC, regardless of what/where it is.”
“If the gene is not found in the patient’s plasma, there’s a 99.9% probability that the patient is healthy and the test can be repeated every one to two years. If it’s detected, a colonoscopy must be performed and approximately 50% of those with a positive result will be found to have an abnormal growth or tumour, which can then be treated accordingly.”