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ColoMarker: New Colon Cancer Test

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  A Tennessee biotech firm has filed a patent for an inexpensive blood test to detect colon cancer in its early stages, when it is most curable. EDP Biotech Corp. of Knoxville developed ColoMarker, which in pre-clinical trials was 99 percent accurate in detecting colon cancer in the first three stages of the disease using blood tests on 2,370 samples, says Kevin Jones, chief scientific officer at EDP.

  The company hopes the development of the ColoMarker will increase the number of Americans who are screened. American Cancer Society (ACS) statistics indicate that fewer than 20 percent of Americans 50 and older currently undergo colon cancer screenings. More than 90 percent of patients are likely to survive colon cancer if it is found and treated in the early stages, but the survival rate drops to 10 percent among patients whose cancer is diagnosed in the later stages, ACS statistics show. — Kandace Power Graves

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