Scandal: Breast cancer blood test highly praised by university hospital does not exist

Scandal: Breast cancer blood test highly praised by university hospital does not exist

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Heidelberg University Hospital: Scandal over highly praised blood test for cancer

In February the Heidelberg University Hospital announced a "milestone in breast cancer diagnosis". The clinic reported a new blood test to improve breast cancer detection. It is now known that this test does not exist.

Various blood tests to diagnose cancer

Medical breakthroughs in cancer diagnostics have been reported repeatedly in recent years. For example, researchers developed a blood test that can detect skin cancer. And Israeli scientists are working on a method to detect lung cancer early. According to Australian experts, a new blood test could even detect all cancers. And German researchers also recently reported a new blood test that should help detect breast cancer. But this test doesn't exist.

There is no medical sensation at all

In February, the University Hospital Heidelberg reported in a press release of a "milestone in breast cancer diagnosis".

There is talk of a new procedure that can improve the detection of breast cancer with the help of a blood test.

"The blood test developed by our research team is a new, revolutionary way of quickly and non-invasively detecting cancer of the breast using biomarkers in the blood," said Prof. Dr. Christof Sohn, Managing Medical Director of Heidelberg University Women's Clinic.

His colleague Prof. Sarah Schott added: "The new blood-based procedure is significantly less stressful for women because it is neither painful nor associated with radiation exposure."

But the medical sensation apparently does not exist.

University clinic in criticism

Soon after the announcement, there were doubts about the scientific basis of the advertised test.

The university clinic also responded and reported in March that the criticism should be taken seriously.

In April, the hospital filed criminal charges against unknown persons. "As a public institution, the university hospital sees itself forced to take this step due to the signs of an unfair procedure in the development and announcement of the potential blood test for breast cancer diagnosis, which was presented to the scientific community and the public on February 21," a report said to.

In addition, it was announced that an “Independent Commission to Clarify the Facts of the Blood Test” would be founded.

As the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) now writes, tumor biologist Magnus von Knebel Doeberitz should also test the test. He came to a devastating result in early April.

In a statement available to the SZ, it says: "It must therefore be clearly stated that the procedure mentioned in the press release has not yet existed."

According to the information, there is not even a prototype. "This means that no information can be given on the diagnostic value of the proposed but not yet available product," said the expert.

Prosecutor's office determined

According to the SZ, the public prosecutor is now investigating. The suspicion of insider trading and manipulation of the stock exchange were also raised.

As it is said, documents from the hospital show that the entire board is involved in the processes.

The German HeiScreen GmbH, a spin-off of the Heidelberg University Hospital, which is said to have developed the test, points out on its website that "the breast cancer test was not announced as an early detection test".

And: "The German HeiScreen GmbH still assumes that there will be a very sensible application area for the test - especially when considering a subgroup", it continues. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Breast Cancer Screening Test and Diagnosis. Dr. Rushabh Kothari (August 2022).