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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Northwestern: Revolutionary Simple Blood Tests for Diabetic Complications, Cancer

With a revolutionary new approach that analyzed a tiny sample of blood, scientists from Northwestern Medicine, the University of Chicago and Wuhan University in China detected earlier and more accurately if diabetic patients had developed life-threatening vascular complications such as heart disease, atherosclerosis and kidney failure.

The study, published in Clinical Chemistry, is the latest discovery in a new blood-testing technology that Northwestern scientists used most recently to detect liver cancer in patients and is now being tested in other major cancers.

“We’re very excited to apply our earlier findings in cancer patients to diabetic patients,” said co-corresponding author Dr. Wei Zhang, associate professor of preventive medicine in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. “This discovery is going to revolutionize how quickly and non-invasively we can identify potentially fatal complications in the hundreds of millions of diabetic patients worldwide.”

The prototype of this novel technology was developed by Dr. Chuan He, the John T. Wilson Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. Drs. Zhang and He worked together to create the blood test.

About two-thirds of the 424 million diabetic patients worldwide die from vascular (i.e. blood vessel) complications. Detecting these complications early could spur treatments to control the development of severe disease or death.

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