Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Drop of blood can predict future diseases

A modern technology that is already used in Russian medicine may predict that in three years a patient may have diabetes, or in five years a person may run cancer risk.

A specialist only needs a blood drop, and the future will be unveiled in three minutes. The method developed by Russian scientists leaves their Western counterparts far behind.

In June 2007 their technology brought them the first prize at the Russian Competition of Innovations. The technology was developed by Professor Alexander Poletaev, who works with the Anokhin Institute of normal physiology. An early diagnosis laboratory may be equipped in two weeks on the base of any medical institution. The technology costs the same amount the Russian government spends on treating cancer patients.

Any disease starts when biochemical processes go wrong for this or that reason. As a result, this prevents some organ or a system from working properly, but that is still unseen because there are no symptoms. A potential patient feels good, all the test results being normal. But a disease already develops. A patient will show symptoms (including pain) when his or her body organs become seriously damaged. For instance, primary symptoms of diabetes appear when 85 percent of pancreatic cells producing insulin are destroyed.

Until recently there was no equipment that could detect a disease at its primary stage. The revolutionary research has been based on the fact that antibodies are the first to react to any defects which have just appeared in a human body. These peculiar molecules produced by immune system cells rid the organism of decay products.

“A healthy person has the same number of antibodies in the blood,” said Professor Poletaev. “But when a disease emerges, their number changes drastically, either decreases or increases. Every group of antibodies is associated with a certain organ. Knowing the number of antibodies a doctor may find out defects. For example, the destruction of hepatocytes – the liver-clearing antibodies – testifies to infectious processes in the liver. The destruction of myocardial cells, which results in the shift of cardiotropic antibodies, exercises heart problems.”

The new method enables doctors to find out a myocardial disease (a disease of cardiac muscle) three years before the condition proves fatal. Diabetes can be thus predicted five years before it actually begins, whereas a tumour – ten years before the diagnosis is made.

“Tests also enable us to find defects in kidneys, the adrenal and prostate gland, in the stomach, the thyroid gland, in the central nervous system and lungs,” Professor Poletaev said.

Forewarned is forearmed. It is not so difficult to remedy defects at the stage of pre-existing disease. Sometimes a new way of living, a diet and certain physical exercises may be enough to improve your test results. A disease clears up before it starts.

Unfortunately, this unique method that could save million of lives has not been introduced into regular medical practice. It is currently used in about a hundred of Russian medical institutions. It is a drop in the ocean for such a large country as Russia.

Meanwhile, the same research is under way in Western countries (the USA, Israel, France and Canada).

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