OTC Cancer Testing

I’m sure OTC diagnostics, whether it be for HIV or cancer is not for everyone — but this doesn’t mean, I believe, that no one should be able to have access to such tests.  This week’s MIT Tech review covers developments in cancer diagnostics that promise to make quick, easy, inexpensive cancer detection a reality:

According to [Charles] Lieber, the device, which uses nanowires to detect
telltale cancer proteins, could lead to inexpensive and highly-accurate
tests — people could even buy them in a local drugstore and perform
the testing themselves. "We can take a very small amount of blood and
with a very simple filtration step get an answer within five minutes,"
Lieber says, adding that the device has "a sensitivity a thousand times
better" than in a lab.


Kevin Bullis, Drugstore Cancer Tests, MIT Tech Review. Oct 31 2005.

Charles Lieber’s Homepage at Harvard University.

In a Home Near You Soon: DIY Tests for Nearly Everything?

More and more do-it-yourself (DIY) medical tests are coming down the pike.  This week A DIY home HIV test will be reviewed by the FDA’s Blood Products Advisory Committee, they are expected to give guidance on potential OTC status for the OraQuick Advance test on November 3.  The manufacturer, Orasure Technology, currently sells the kits to clinics and doctors for less than $20 each.

This past week, scientists from the Morgagni-Pierantoni Hospital in Forli, Italy published a paper in JAMA demonstrating efficacy of a urine test for bladder cancer.

Maria Aurora Sanchini et al. "Relevance of Urine Telomerase in the Diagnosis of Bladder Cancer" JAMA Vol. 294 No. 16, October 26, 2005.

Bernard M. Branson, MD. "Home Sample Collection Tests for HIV Infection" JAMA. 1998; 280:1699-1701.