Cancer test, it’s real, now make it realer – national health service:The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-editorial/cancer-test-its-real-now-make-it-realer/articleshow/91992674.cms

Synopsis

​​​But what perhaps makes this test developed at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and currently undergoing trials truly remarkable is that it is slated to be available to citizens in Britain in about two years’ time as part of their National Health Service (NHS) package. In other words, a general practitioner can suggest his or her patient such a test.

A DNA test, using a blood sample, to assess a person’s risk for cancer could well revolutionise the approach to oncological treatment. A pre-emptive measure to identify and then suggest precautionary treatment or behavioural changes to treat at-risk persons long before they may develop the dreaded disease is so very welcome.

But what perhaps makes this test developed at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, and currently undergoing trials truly remarkable is that it is slated to be available to citizens in Britain in about two years’ time as part of their National Health Service (NHS) package. In other words, a general practitioner can suggest his or her patient such a test.

The DNA test will be looking out for ‘actionable’ mutations – genes that are ‘faulty’ and heighten risks of cancer. Depending on the result, action can be advised by the doctor and taken by the patient. Despite the simplicity of the test and its relatively low cost – currently estimated to be at just under ₹1 lakh (£1,000) – when compared to, say, full-blown oncological treatment, it will remain out of bounds for most people in countries such as India, unless a cheaper variant is found.

The test is to be presented today at a symposium at the 5-day 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (Asco) conference in Chicago. It would be worth its while for oncologists and genome sequencing scientists in India to follow the proceedings and literature of this Asco presentation. If the proverbial mountain of a cutting-edge, affordable,

sturdy

and inclusive health system cannot – yet – come to provide this future-changing breakthrough in cancer treatment to an overwhelming majority of high-risk Indians, then let the Muhammad of Indian bioscience go to the mountain.

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