Colon Cancer Screening and Other Tests for Malignancy save Lives

There have been marked advances in the detection of colon cancer by means of screening procedures. Until relatively recently, the preliminary investigation of a possible bowel tumour would have been confined to the search for occult (hidden) blood in the faeces. A positive result would then have been followed up by sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

Modern FOB testing procedures have advanced considerably since the days of the guaiac test, for which a meat-free fast was essential in order to avoid the risk of false positives. Newer methods depend upon the detection of globin or transferrin and employ reactions, including immunochemical tests that are correspondingly more specific. However, the presence of blood in the stool is not actually an indicator of malignancy and neither is it able to reveal from which specific section of the gastro-intestinal tract such hidden blood traces may have originated.

Instead, any truly dependable colon cancer screening test would be required to detect something rather more specific than evidence of intestinal bleeding. For instance identifying anomalous changes in DNA from the intestinal mucosae would immediately obviate any confusion with a bleeding peptic ulcer, benign polyps or colonic angiodysplasia, all of which give rise to a positive faecal occult blood test.

Researchers at Germany’s Giessen University found that malignant cells actually leak a specific chemical known as Tumour M2-PK into the bowel and a local, hi-tech biotechnology company, ScheBo, used these findings to develop an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test for its detection in faeces. The test combines exceptionally good sensitivity with an equally high degree of specificity – a fundamental requirement for any reliable diagnostic procedure. It uses only a small stool sample and so is ideal as a routine colon cancer screening test and offers results that show a high degree of correlation with associated colonoscopy findings.

The company has also developed a version of the assay that can be applied to the determination of Tumour M2-PK levels in blood serum samples – an option that is useful for follow-up purposes. This ELISA variant provides clinicians with a particularly reliable means by which to measure the effectiveness of whatever regimen of treatments they may have chosen to prescribe for their patients.

It has been found with established tests for identifying other types of malignancy, such as those affecting the breasts, cervix or prostate, that early diagnosis followed by prompt and appropriate treatment can result in a significant extension of a patient’s life expectancy. Every indication seems to confirm that this innovative approach to colon cancer screening will also provide those affected by this frequently fatal condition with the same benefit.

Since our company was formed in 1980, the sourcing and supply of advanced medical diagnostic products has remained a prime focus of its business. Now an established South African leader in this field, as well as in the supply of reagents and equipment for other scientific applications, IEPSA has a reputation for exceptional quality, both for our products and for the professional expertise with which we support their users.

Along with the many other specialised products required for routine testing and research within disciplines, such as organ transplantation, blood transfusion, assisted reproduction and gene sequencing, we include these new ELISA kits developed by ScheBo for colon cancer screening.

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