AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new simple blood test to detect cancer is coming to a veterinarian near you. Texas A&M has partnered with a company called Volition, which has a location in Austin to create the test for dogs.
Instead of undergoing biopsies or other procedures, the test can be done at an annual wellness checkup. Texas A&M veterinary researchers say cancer is the most common cause of death in dogs over the age of 7-years-old.
“We are really excited about our new test. It is a simple test, all it requires is a blood sample. We’ve been using it to detect dogs with lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma, which are common types of cancers,” said lead researcher Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles, CVMBS professor.
It’s important to note the test isn’t a diagnosis, but can lead to early detections of cancer.
“A positive result on this test would be an indication to do addition test to see what is going on,” said Wilson-Robles. “It means something is wrong. The question is what exactly. In many cases, the what is wrong is cancer.”
According to Robles, dogs suspected of having cancer are required to go through several tests that may be expensive, time consuming or invasive.
“As long as your dog isn’t severely ill, this is a pretty accurate test. I lost my dog in May, and his values were initially low, and then they shot up. It was easy for me to see that and evaluate him for a cancer he previously had that had returned,” said Wilson-Robles. “Sometimes knowing these things a little earlier can help you intervene sooner.”
Researchers at the University of Texas say the same test A&M is using in dogs has shown equally impressive results in detecting early cancer in human clinical trials. UT Dell Medical School will be participating in future human clinical trials very soon.
“This could truly revolutionize the way we screen for cancer, because it uses low volumes of routine blood draws and costs no more than other common tests,” said Dr. Jason Terrell, Dell Medical School Department of Oncology. “I’m excited to watch the human trials progress and anxious to offer this test to patients.”