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How do you know if you're at risk for lung cancer? New DNA test can tell you

VCOM researchers develop DNA test to detect risk of lung cancer

BLACKSBURG, Va.
How do you know if you're at risk for lung cancer?

Local researchers at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine came up with a blood test that can tell you with a drop of blood.

It's the first of its kind, a genetic test developed to detect your chances of getting lung cancer.

Dr. Harold Garner who leads the research team at VCOM says they wanted to keep it simple. 

“All we have to do is get a drop of your blood,” Garner said.

Garner explains that all cancers have a genetic makeup.

So from that drop of blood, your DNA would be extracted.

They would then test it in a lab to identify the genetic markers.

“And then we give a report to you and your doctor that says you're at risk or you're not at risk,” Garner said.

In addition to the fairly simple procedure, this DNA test has a quick turnaround.

“In one or two days you have the results,” Garner said.

Currently there is no blood test of this kind.

But if someone is tested, and there is an elevated risk, doctors can better monitor the patient for cancer, and help them to make better lifestyle choices.

“It’s the pain of seeing parents suffering that their children have cancer. This test makes a huge difference for those people,” said Karthikraja Belmurugam, researcher at VCOM.

While all the scientific research is complete, there is still a ways to go in making this DNA test available.

“What we want to do now is raise the money to validate this test, and then make it into a product your doctor can do for you,” Garner said.
 

Researchers are hopeful that this test will be available in your doctor’s office in the next two years.