Japanese multinational conglomerate Toshiba has invented a technology that can diagnose several types of cancer from a single blood drop in a matter of hours.

The company claims that the technology can detect 13 types of cancer with almost 99% accuracy.

Tokyo Medical University and the National Cancer Center collaborated to develop the blood test.

The partners intend to commercialise the technology in several years, after commencing a trial next year.

Toshiba noted that its technology could be leveraged to encourage treatment of cancers from an early stage.

The newly developed blood test studies the types and concentration of microRNA molecules secreted from cancer cells in the blood.

At a press conference, Toshiba Frontier Research Laboratory chief research scientist Koji Hashimoto stated: “Compared to other companies’ methods, we have an edge in the degree of accuracy in cancer detection, the time required for detection and the cost.”

Companies such as Toray Industries have also developed methods that use microRNA molecules from a blood sample to detect cancer.

Types of cancers that can be diagnosed using the blood test include gastric, oesophagal, lung, liver, biliary tract and pancreatic, as well as bowel, ovarian, prostate, bladder, breast, sarcoma and glioma.

The blood test kit encompasses a chip and a small device. It is said to detect various types of cancers in less than two hours.

Researchers claim that the test could significantly cut the cost of cancer screening.