As a proud father of a two-year-old little girl, it's always stories the stories about children that grab my attention the most. Take for instance, a recent one that I wrote, discussing the risk of radiation-induced solid cancers in older children. The story comes from a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics and possible appendicitis was cited as a leading cause of abdominal/pelvic CT usage.
The first question I asked myself, one that I had never asked before... was if I should be overly concerned if my daughter needs a CT scan. The good news is, one med-tech company in particular is focused on obtaining FDA clearance for an assay that could help reduce the number of CT scans in children who are thought to suffer from appendicitis, if given the green light. Venaxis (Castle Rock, Colorado) reported that it has developed the APPY1 Test, a rapid, protein biomarker-based assay for identifying patients at low risk for appendicitis.
While it still has to clear a few hurdles before this test reaches the market, I'm pleased that such an option will be on the table, especially after seeing some of the statistics from the JAMA Pediatrics article.
In the study researchers measured the rate of CT scan use (from 1996 to 2010) and the dose of ionizing radiation (for CT scans performed between 2001 and 2011) in children younger than 15 years of age, and estimated the lifetime attributable risks of certain cancers. The projected lifetime attributable risk of developing solid cancers was higher for patients who underwent CT scans of the abdomen/pelvis or spine than for patients who underwent other types of CT scans. The risk was highest for younger patients and for girls (did I mention I have a daughter?), with a radiation-induced solid cancer projected to result from every 300 to 390 abdomen/pelvis scans.
Currently, the company is undergoing a pivotal trial for the APPY1 test and hopefully approval will be right around the corner and this dad can eliminate a CT scan as a potential worry. I'm sure there will be plenty of other worries to take its place.