Worms set on sniff­ing out can­cer

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - JANELLE MILES

A WORLD-first study of Queens­land pa­tients has found round­worms can de­tect can­cer in urine with a high de­gree of ac­cu­racy.

Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy can­cer re­searcher Derek Richard said Bris­bane was cho­sen for the early-stage study of a Ja­panese-de­vel­oped di­ag­nos­tic test be­cause of ex­per­tise in clin­i­cal trial de­sign.

Pro­fes­sor Richard, of QUT’s Can­cer and Age­ing Re­search Pro­gram, said the study, in­volv­ing 75 can­cer pa­tients at the Princess Alexandra Hos­pi­tal and 15 healthy par­tic­i­pants, found the round­worms, with a height­ened sense of smell, were able to de­tect can­cer with more than 90 per cent ac­cu­racy.

He said Ja­panese bio­med­i­cal com­pany Hirotsu Bio-Sci­ence was ne­go­ti­at­ing with the State Gov­ern­ment to re­lo­cate its re­search and de­vel­op­ment divi­sion to QUT’s Kelvin Grove cam­pus and that the study would be ex­panded to in­clude hun­dreds of pa­tients.

“On one side of a plate, you put a drop of urine from a pa­tient who may have can­cer and on the other side you stick a drop of urine of some­one (who) doesn’t,” Prof Richard said.

“The worms swim to­wards the can­cer pa­tient’s urine. It’s quite spec­tac­u­lar to see.”

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said Hirotsu’s choice of Queens­land for their project N-Nose fu­elled her gov­ern­ment’s goal for the state to be­come a global bio­med­i­cal hub.

“This cut­ting-edge project has the po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate highly skilled jobs,” she said.

Prof Richard said the study pa­tients had prostate, lung, breast or col­orec­tal can­cer and that the test, if it goes to mar­ket, could rev­o­lu­tionise can­cer care.

“Ul­ti­mately, you could go for a urine test once a year to be screened for can­cer,” he said.

WIN­NERS ON A PLATE: Alex Clark and Emily O’Kane. Pic­ture: Sarah Mar­shall

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.