The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends annual colon cancer screening for everyone beginning at age 50 until they turn 75. If you’re healthy and in that age range, you might want to learn more about this research project from the Baylor Research Institute.
The project is evaluating whether a certain blood test can detect colon cancer before it even develops. Early results of the test appeared positive, as published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute last year.
On the heels of those promising findings, researchers are now seeking healthy participants to measure this non-invasive procedure.
Led by principal investigator Richard Boland, MD, of Baylor University Medical Center’s Division of Gastroenterology, the research explores whether the blood test, performed with regular colonoscopies, can identify patients at high risk for colorectal cancer.
Currently, colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Among those patients diagnosed with colorectal cancers, half are diagnosed at advanced stages.
Fewer than 50 percent of Americans undergo screening for colorectal cancer, typically through a standard colonoscopy procedure.
“Our aim is to improve those sobering statistics and to make available more convenient screening options,” Dr. Boland said. “We’re encouraged by the initial results and are optimistic that measuring levels of miR-21 in the blood can help identify not only cancer tumors, but also cancer risks.”
To proceed with the research, investigators have asked for 200 healthy volunteers (who are due for a colonoscopy) and 200 patients diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer who have not undergone chemotherapy or radiation. Upon enrollment in the study, the research coordinator will collect a blood sample prior to the colonoscopy procedure for all participants.
To learn more about this study, contact Research Coordinator Allison Cox at (214) 820-6779.