At-home testing kit approved for use for cancer patients

  • By Shiona McCallum
  • technology reporter

A new device has been granted regulatory approval to help reduce the time cancer patients spend in hospital.

Liberty allows patients to take blood tests at home and without supervision and upload results.

Its users say it allows them to cut down on exhausting hospital visits, while doctors suggest it could boost NHS productivity.

Following trials at The Christie in Manchester, the device will now be deployed across 12 NHS sites.

However, Cancer Research UK says it has only been tested on a small number of people so far. The charity says more work is needed before we know whether it could be used more widely in cancer care.

Cancer treatment involves a series of blood tests, as medical staff monitor several health indicators such as hemoglobin levels and total white blood cell count.

Lynn Thompson, who has battled both ovarian and bowel cancer since 2017 – and was one of the trial patients – said it was a huge relief to be able to do some of those tests at home.

image Caption, She says that this device has really reduced the stress and anxiety in her life.

“Honestly, I fell in love with the machine. It was very easy to follow and use,” said the 52-year-old.

She said this helped her no longer be tied to a fixed schedule of hospital visits, which she found physically and mentally exhausting – especially given her fear of needles.

“By the time I would get to the chair in the blood room, I would probably pass out, and it would have a direct effect – it made me feel very bad the whole day.

“The machine removes all that, it’s a simple finger prick that doesn’t hurt. There’s a small amount of blood and then it’s covered up – no stress or worry.”

The device, the size of a small printer, can send blood sample analysis directly to hospital teams.

Sacha Howell, a senior lecturer in medical oncology at the University of Manchester, said moving blood tests from the confines of hospital to the comfort of patients’ homes was not only more convenient for patients, but could also lead to savings for the NHS.

Recently, The Christie – one of the largest cancer treatment centers of its type in Europe – has deployed phlebotomy units across the region, becoming known as “blood closer to home”.

“But it still means we have to staff those units so patients can get blood tests,” Dr. Howell said.

“If patients were able to do these on their own at home, it would result in significant efficiencies.”

Trials conducted at The Christie have shown promising results, although the number of patients is small.

22 patients like Lin have participated in the domestic study, which includes regulatory approval trials involving 470 patients.

Cancer Research said the low numbers mean some precautions need to be taken.

“It is still very early days for this technology” and further research is needed, it said in a statement.

It added, “Regulatory approval does not indicate effectiveness or clinical utility at this stage – those questions will need to be addressed in future clinical trials of the device before it can be used for more Can be used widely.”

The boss of the company that makes it, Antia, is excited about what he says is the world’s first blood count analyzer that patients can use in their own homes.

“By providing information about patients’ health status, this tool enables health care professionals to address complications earlier, reducing hospitalizations and treatment interruptions,” said Dr. Toby Bessie-Fisher. “


Disclaimer : The content in this article is for educational and informational purposes only.

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