Cancer test as a “milestone” advertised – University hospital apologizes

The promise was big: A blood test, the cancer of the breast can detect and, in a few months, will come on the market. In the press release of the University hospital of Heidelberg, the speech was a “milestone in the breast cancer diagnostics”. Several media reported that the development was hailed as a “world sensation”.

However, shortly after the publication of critique of the PR campaign stirred. Because so far, the researchers have presented the product at a conference, there are scientific studies so far. The Test is a so-called Liquid Biopsy (liquid biopsy). This substances in body fluids such as blood, urine, or saliva, to messengers, or tumor cells sought to discover a cancer disease or to characterize in more detail.

But it is still not clear, how reliable is the Test for breast cancer to detect at an early stage. As project Manager, Christof son not called, at a press conference, in spite of demand the proportion of false alarms for the blood test – so, how many healthy women, the procedure falsely Alarm triggers. This number is for the evaluation of a diagnostic procedure is absolutely necessary. A market introduction this year is, therefore, utopian. (Read more here).

“We are very sorry”

The now sees, apparently, also the University hospital of Heidelberg and ask for the PR campaign to apologize. The Explosive: the company Heiscreen, which introduced the Test, are employees of the University hospital of Heidelberg is involved financially. For such Companies to apply in the future certain rules, the “economic, scientific, ethical and journalistic questions” concerning spin-offs clinic spokeswoman Doris Rübsam-Brodkorb said.

The University hospital of sorry for women who had made a possibly false hopes on a rapid use of the Tests, said Rübsam-Brodkorb. “We are very sorry.”

The diagnostic procedure was used, although the end of the year for test purposes in the laboratory, said Doris Rübsam-Brodkorb. For the Test, the blood samples, messengers of the tumor was able to detect cells, but not yet on the market. First, channels of distribution, and the assumption of costs by the health insurance funds would need to be clarified.

In addition, the University distanced itself from the PR strategy for the blood test. The media monitoring have been responsible for Heiscreen, said Rübsam-Brodkorb. However, the University published the notification on its website. Son said the “Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung”, he was involved with four per cent of Heiscreen, his University colleague Sarah Schott, with more than seven percent.

So far, the early detection of breast cancer is based, in the main, to regular Palpation and the mammogram Screening, an x-ray examination of the chest. Breast cancer is, according to the centre for cancer registry data at the Robert Koch Institute with approximately 69,000 new cases a year, by far the most common cancer in women in Germany. In the year 2016 18.570 women with breast cancer died in Germany.