A non-invasive test that can detect cancer in your blood

A quick, non-toxic liquid biopsy allows people to take better, more proactive care of their health

Trucheck diagnostic test kit

Nordic Laboratories’ Chris Moore, Dr Rex Gloria, Stefan Schuster of Datar Center Genetics Europe

Four Filipinos die of cancer every hour.

In a forum on cancer detection at the New World Hotel, Chris Moore, the founder of Nordic Laboratories, cited the importance of screening methods that can help identify cancerous cells even before symptoms occur.   This Danish multinational  provides access to more than 120 cutting-edge diagnostic tests,

“My philosophy is how can  I empower myself and others to take ownership of our health,” said Moore.

In 2021, Nordic Lab forged a tie-up with Datar Cancer Genetics Europe, a German company that develops blood-based and non-invasive diagnostics for early cancer detection.  A vital protocol for prevention, the liquid biopsy is a test performed on a body fluid such as blood. It detects portions of DNA discarded by tumors into the bloodstream, called circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cluster cells.  These components are isolated from the blood and assessed to determine the individual’s health status.

Moore espoused Trucheck, a patented blood-based test designed for healthy and asymptomatic individuals who may or may not have a family history of cancer. Likewise, they may want to include a cancer screening test as part of  their annual medical exam. Trucheck Intelli Multi-Cancer Screening Test, for example, can detect some 70 types of tumors which may not be easily identified by  conventional protocols in early stages.

Nordic Laboratories receives all the blood samples of patients after the extraction has been accomplished by partner doctors or laboratories. The samples are then sent to Datar Cancer Genetics lab in the UK under temperature-controlled conditions within the next 48 hours.

“It’s quick, non-toxic. Some tests don’t require fasting preparations,” said Moore.  The patient receives the results in 10 days.

The CEO explained that Nordic Lab ships from 80 countries via DHL Medical Express, with four global centers monitoring the shipments 24/7.  “Stability of the sample is important. We make the reports as precise as possible,” he said.

Dr. Rex Gloria, roving ambassador for Nordic Laboratories in the Asia Pacific, explained that doctors in preventive, functional, and lifespan medicine like himself underscore the importance of early screening. While conventional tests may not determine early stages of malignancy, Trucheck as a liquid biopsy test will indicate the number of CTCs in the blood sample, the presence of cluster cells, and most  importantly, the tissue or organ they originated. Based on the findings, the doctor can prescribe the appropriate measures to eliminate or diminish them with less guesswork.

Stefan Schuster, managing director of Datar Center Genetics Europe, said many cancers are detected in Stage 3, when the cancer cells have spread into the surrounding tissues, or Stage 4, when they metastasize with small daughter tumors around the body. By then, the chance for the patient’s survival is slimmer.

TruCheck may offer solutions  to cancers that have specific diagnostic challenges such as lung and pancreatic cancers. Women with extremely dense breasts may benefit from Trucheck on top of their regular sono-mammograms. Based on numerous samples, malignant tumor cells and their cluster cells may already be detected even for patients given with low BI-RADS (breast imaging reporting and data system).  “If you find a small cancer at the beginning stage which can be cured, why wait for another five to 10 years when the tumor has grown in size and the cure may not be possible anymore?” said Schuster.

An advanced counterpart, Trublood is designed for symptomatic patients, who detect something suspicious on any of the conventional screening tests and have been advised to take an invasive tissue biopsy to check for malignancy.

Schuster recommended the liquid biopsy when the  tissue biopsy or other conventional diagnostic tests are unclear. He cited a patient whose PI-RADS (prostate imaging reporting and data system) score was 3, which means an equivocal likelihood of significant prostate cancer. The patient was advised to observe his condition.

On the other hand, Trublood Prostate, an organ- specific test, immediately spotted a malignancy. “Something was going on in the prostate. After a biopsy, seven types of cancer were found. Since it was a small tumor, the patient underwent surgery,” he said.

Over 50,000 patients have been studied for Trucheck and 30,000 for Trublood. While both  have proven high sensitivity in detecting anomalies, they do not aim to replace any existing procedures or gold standards of healthcare  “We see our effort as an add-on for all those individuals who want to start cancer screening earlier, have a strong family history of cancer, or who are of risks because of working in a certain environment,” Schuster said. “Patients want to be informed about  their health status.”

Trucheck is not for patients in remission, noted Dr. Gloria.  He recommends Trublood, which monitors both CTCs and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA is a biomarker used for prognostic information).  Since it is organ-specific, the attending physician may request a range from Trublood Breast to Trublood Prostate, Trublood Lung, etc.

If a patient receives negative results, Dr. Gloria still recommends an annual test, especially since such ailments as pancreatic cancer are difficult to detect by conventional means. “It is an opportunity for me to catch it when it’s starting. It may have not been caught because it’s not present, but cancer gets aggressive,” he said.

Moore predicted that in 20 years, cancer cases would have doubled in the Philippines unless people optimize their health and identify diseases early on.  He recommended a liquid biopsy as a yearly check-up that could lower risks.

“Our job is to help educate. We want to help doctors use these tests well,” he said.

The prices range between  US$1,000 to US$2,000, depending on the type of test being requested.

“I should look after my health. If I invest, I increase my productivity,” said Moore.  “The journey to health optimization is, foremost, the need to get data points for the biology. We need to keep reviewing them and adapting around the insights.  We can’t say, ‘I’m well, I did the test five years ago.’  If we do these measures, humanity will see the reduction of disease.”

For details, contact [email protected]

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