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Jasco initiates pancreatic cancer research program with NCCU in Durham

January 31, 2016

To do this, the researchers enrolled three groups of people -- healthy nonsmokers, healthy smokers, and smokers with early evidence of lung destruction. Study participants had their medical histories taken, and to gauge lung function in these participants, all underwent two pulmonary function tests. One is spirometry, which measures the volume and speed of air as it is inhaled and exhaled from the lungs. The other, known as DLCO, is the only lung function test available today that can detect emphysema in patients. It uses a machine that measures the ability of gases to diffuse across the alveolar-capillary membrane.

The researchers found a 95 percent positive correlation between elevated EMPs in the blood and an abnormal DLCO test result, meaning that it detected nearly all verified cases of early emphysema in participants.

Two other independent groups of participants were then given the same group of tests -- spirometry, DLCO and the EMP blood test -- and, once again, a positive EMP finding correlated with an abnormal DLCO 95 percent of the time. Differences in the spirometry findings had no bearing on results of DLCO or EMP.

DLCO, which must be administered by a pulmonologist, is most often used to confirm a suspicion of emphysema, Dr. Crystal says. By contrast, the EMP blood test is designed to be a simple, low-cost screening tool that can pick up development of emphysema in individuals who show no signs of the disorder.

"We need a blood test that can be administered to the 20 percent of American adults who smoke as well as nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke -- all who may not understand their risk of developing this progressive lung disease," says Dr. Crystal.

The researchers are conducting further studies of the EMP test in larger groups of participants in order to validate these initial findings.

Source: New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College