KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — It’s a top killer: colon cancer. So far, a colonoscopy has been the number one way to detect it. But something developed in Knoxville may soon change that.
It’s nothing for Jack Smith to roll up a sleeve and get his blood drawn. In fact, he prefers it.
“It’s practically nothing as far as discomfort is concerned,” says Smith.
The alternative would be a colonoscopy, but Smith hasn’t worried about that since he started using Colomarker in 1992. It’s a quick and easy way for doctors to test for colon cancer.
“It detects colon cancer in the earliest stages where it is then treatable with surgery or other types of medical treatments,” says Dr. Bergein Overholt of Gastrointestinal Associates.
Smith says, “They found 5 polyps, some were pre-cancerous and they were removed.”
Dr. Overholt says if colon cancer is detected in stage one, there’s up to a 90% chance for a cure. Since colonscopies are used as the primary screening, only 60% of people actually go through with it. The test was created in Knoxville but only received the FDA equivalent stamp of approval overseas, which is why some businesses and research developers can’t wait for it to get approved in the United States.
“We would anticipate the cost to be less than $100 for the patient, and compared to a lot of the other diagnostic tests on the market this will also be more convenient, no stool tests involved, no stool samples, it’s a very easy,” says EDP Biotech’s Eric Mayer.
The test will not replace colonscopies, instead it will screen more people, help in early detection and treat patients quicker.
Smith adds, “It’s a simple drawing of blood from your arm”
Smith was selected to participate in a controlled group and is considered to be a trial patient.
The FDA process is already underway for Colomarker. It’s anticipated to be approved in 1 to 2 years. The test will reach the European market in the early part of 2015.