Why is early detection so important?
When lung cancer is detected in its early stages, the five year survival rate is about 80%. Currently, 85% of lung cancer cases are detected in advanced stages that are associated with very low survival rates. The prognosis can be improved through early detection. Unlike other types of cancers that have blood tests, such as prostate, ovary, liver and pancreas there has been no such test for lung cancer. For patients in the high risk groups, an early detection blood test would be extremely important. In developing this early detection test, there is potential to save thousands of lives each year and enormous medical costs.
What is PAULA’s Test?PAULA’s Test will be a blood test for the early detection of lung cancer. A simple blood sample is drawn at the patient’s own doctor’s office and sent to 20/20, where our proprietary test will be performed. PAULA’s Test (an acronym for “Protein Assays Using Lung cancer Antigens”) is named in memory of Paula Shore, the wife of a 20/20 shareholder who succumbed to lung cancer in 2005.
Who will be a candidate to use PAULA’s Test?
Candidates are persons at high risk for lung cancer, which includes smokers, former smokers, and persons with long-term exposure to secondhand smoke or various industrial toxins. Current practice results in lung cancer being detected only when the patient has symptoms. Usually, this occurs only after the cancer has grown significantly and spread. At this stage, patients usually have poor survival rates. Collectively this at-risk group represents about 25% of the U.S. population. And a larger percentage in other nations. (There are over 300 million smokers in China alone.)
How will it work?
Early in the development of lung cancer, the body mounts an immune response to the cancer that leads to the formation of antibodies specific to the cancer cells. Since no lung cancer-specific blood markers have been available to date, these cancer autoantibodies are being identified to be detected in our test as an early detection marker for the presence of lung cancer. 20/20 is developing this test that uses a panel of these autoantibodies to improve the sensitivity and specificity of detection of lung cancer beyond what can be identified with a CT scan alone. Since lung lesions detected by CT scan may not specifically distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous lesions, the addition of this blood test can help determine whether lesions may be cancerous. Furthermore, a positive blood test in the absence of lesion on a CT scan may reflect the test’s ability to detect the very early presence of cancer, even before detection by CT scan
How will this test improve patient outcome?
Ideally, regular screening for lung cancer gives the at-risk patient the best chances of detecting lung cancer at its earliest stage. But, it is impractical to undergo a CT scan or X-ray, as these tests have significant risks, namely high exposure to radiation and significant numbers of false positives. With regular screening using PAULA’s test, only when a positive result is shown, patients would be recommended to undergo a CT scan or X-ray. When used in conjunction with PAULA’s Test, these imaging tests can be used more judiciously when the result indicates a possible presence of lung cancer.
Learn More about the Science behind PAULA’s Test CLICK HERE