This new blood test can diagnose brain tumors

This new blood test can diagnose brain tumors

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Diagnosis of brain tumors possible using a blood test

A newly developed blood test could make the diagnosis of brain tumors significantly easier. A research team from the University of Strathclyde Glasgow developed the test and has now checked its accuracy in initial clinical studies.

"It is the first demonstration that our blood test works in the clinic," emphasizes study leader Dr. Matthew J. Baker from University of Strathclyde Glasgow. The patented technology uses infrared light to generate a “biosignature” of a blood sample, which is checked for signs of cancer using artificial intelligence. The blood test correctly identified cancer in 87 percent of the cases. The study results were published in the specialist journal "Nature Communications".

Brain tumors often with unspecific symptoms

“Diagnosing brain tumors is difficult, which leads to delays and frustration in many patients. The problem is that the symptoms of a brain tumor are quite non-specific, such as Headache or memory problems, ”explains Dr. Paul Brennan from the University of Edinburgh, who was also involved in the study. The new test could help doctors "quickly identify which patients with these non-specific symptoms should be prioritized for urgent brain imaging."

Identify risk patients early on

Using the test, the researchers analyzed 104 samples from patients and were able to correctly differentiate brain tumors from healthy individuals in 87 percent of the cases. These results suggest that the method can be useful in identifying high-risk patients for whom brain tests for possible tumors are useful. Although the new test does not offer diagnostic certainty, it may provide important information for early diagnosis.

Improve the quality of life and survival of those affected

The early detection of brain tumors has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life and survival of those affected while at the same time achieving savings for the healthcare system, reports the research team. The test is being marketed by the company "ClinSpec Diagnostics Limited", which was founded as a spin-off at the University of Edinburgh this year.

Quick approval is the goal

Dr. Holly Butler, director of research and development at ClinSpec Diagnostics, emphasizes that the current results are only the beginning of a series of clinical studies. The aim is to get the technology approved quickly and ultimately to give patients quick access to diagnosis and treatment. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Holly J. Butler, Paul M. Brennan, James M. Cameron, Duncan Finlayson, Mark G. Hegarty, Michael D. Jenkinson, David S. Palmer, Benjamin R. Smith, Matthew J. Baker: Development of high-throughput ATR- FTIR technology for rapid triage of brain cancer; in: Nature Communications, Volume 10, Article number: 4501, 2019,
  • University of Strathclyde Glasgow: Blood test could help to accelerate brain cancer diagnosis (published 10/10/2019),

Video: Brain Tumour facts: 10 things you should know about brain tumours. Cancer Research UK (December 2022).