New Biomarkers Vital for Cancer Screening

04/09/2012 16:29 BST | Updated 03/11/2012 09:12 GMT

It's astonishing to realise that in spite of our advanced medical technology and years of dedicated research, there are no biomarkers approved for the screening of breast or lung cancer - the two most cancers for men and women around the world.

Figures just published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer warned that present cancer trends show there will be 22 million new cases each year by 2030 - an increase of 73% compared with 2008.

Lung, breast, colorectal and stomach cancers accounted for 40% of cases diagnosed worldwide in 2008. In men, lung cancer (16.5%) was the most common cancer of all new cases, and in women it was breast cancer (23%).

Discovering early biomarkers to enable people to live longer, healthier lives is the driving force behind Abcodia, a biomarker validation company with access to 5 million serum samples collected for the UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening and created by clinical scientists at UCL; many of them are pre-diagnosis samples as volunteers went on to develop cancer.

But scientific discoveries are best achieved by working collaboratively and debating the issues with the brightest minds around the world who share the same passion to advance early diagnosis and cancer screening by developing biomarkers. To help facilitate this, Abcodia has launched a new LinkedIn Cancer Screening group to create a community of people who have an active interest in contributing and sharing knowledge about approaches, research, regulatory issues and adoption issues for the screening of cancer.

The group is not aimed at any particular technology; it could include bodily fluid biomarkers, imaging, scanning etc. Neither is it aimed purely at professionals - the group is for everyone whether you are a research scientist, practicing clinician, regulator or a patient.

The following questions are under discussion, and please do contribute your thoughts in the hope that they could lead to solutions and improve cancer screening to save countless lives.

1. Do you think a single biomarker will ever be good enough for cancer screening?

2. Why are blood based biomarkers for cancer screening not being developed?

3. Can anyone in US explain changes to the Affordable Care Act and what it means for the cancer screening market?

4. What technologies are available to allow multiplexing of proteins?