Stony Brook researchers develop new urine test to detect bladder cancer

urine and blood test
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STONY BROOK, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Researchers at Stony Brook University on Friday announced that a new urine test can now detect bladder cancer.

For years, the only way to detect bladder cancer has been a difficult and invasive process of having to get a scope into a patient’s bladder to collect tissue.

But, Stony Brook University researcher Dr. Kenneth Shroyer now says his team has discovered a way to detect the cancer with a simple urine test that uses the protein keratin 17 (K17).

“We discovered that keratin 17, which is a protein that's normally only expressed during embryological development and stem cells, gets re-expressed in cancers at different sites throughout the body,” Dr. Shroyer explained. “When we looked, however, at how it related to bladder cancer, we found that all cases of bladder cancer, essentially, were testing positive, which raises the possibility that we could use it to develop a diagnostic test for bladder cancer.”

He says the revolutionary test can help detect cancers early on, but the traditional way of confirming the cancer would still need to take place before a treatment plan could be decided upon.

“Even with a urine test, ultimately if there's gonna be a decision to treat a patient, there would still need to be a biopsy confirmation of the diagnosis,” Dr. Shroyer said.

About 81,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year and the most common symptom is blood in the urine.