Many cancers are diagnosed once they have already passed the optimal treatment window. This results in patients undergoing aggressive treatment regimens often resulting in reduced survival. One of the main reasons these cancers are not detected sooner is patient apprehension around undergoing uncomfortable, embarrassing invasive procedures. I am developing a novel diagnostic assay that works using samples such as urine or saliva, removing much of the worry associated with current tests.
This novel diagnostic assay has the potential to detect cancers earlier than current methods because it is easy for the patient (just providing urine or saliva), simple for the lab to perform, and it provides rapid results with equal specificity and sensitivity to current tests.
In developing a diagnostic assay for cancer, I hope to be able to help as many cancer patients as possible. Initially I hope to improve the number of young women being screened for cervical cancer by taking the stigma of the cervical smear test away and providing a urine-based test that is also quicker and cheaper than the one currently used. Improving upon cost whilst retaining sensitivity and specificity will also make the assay attractive to healthcare providers.