Cancers in children will be diagnosed faster and more accurately in future as researchers have identified new cancer cell fingerprints in blood.
"We hope that this early research could eventually lead to the development of non-invasive tests which are faster, more accurate and gentler, transforming the way we make a cancer diagnosis in the future," said lead researcher Matthew Murray from University of Cambridge in Britain.
Using a blood test instead of surgical removal of a tumour sample could improve diagnosis- such that results take a matter of hours rather than days or weeks, Murray added.
The researchers found unique molecular fingerprints for 11 types of cancerous tumours found in children that could be used to develop tests to diagnose those cancers.
The researchers uncovered the fingerprints left by the tumours by analysing blood samples from children when they were diagnosed with cancer.
They were looking for molecules that turn genes on and off, to find common changes linked to different tumours.
The findings could reduce the need for children to undergo surgery to receive a diagnosis, the researchers noted.
The research will be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference, to be held in Liverpool Nov 2-5.