Scientists Develop Single Blood Test That Detects Eight Common Cancers

Scientists Develop Single Blood Test That Detects Eight Common Cancers

"The achievement rate of therapeutics and surgeries will be a whole lot higher, we accept, if the tumor is discovered right on time, before side effects", said Dr. Nickolas Papadopoulos, educator of oncology and pathology at Johns Hopkins Medicine and senior creator of the examination.

The test focuses on two signals that a person might be harboring cancer by looking for 16 telltale genetic mutations in bits of free-floating DNA that have been deposited in the bloodstream by cancerous cells.

Though the technology behind the test took years to refine, the basic concept is simple and bears some similarities to other blood-based cancer detection tests like the prostate specific antigen test, which is sometimes used to screen for prostate cancer. For instance, CancerSEEK was only successful about 40 percent of the time in patients with stage 1 cancers (the earliest stage). Another issue with liquid biopsies is the ability to identify the underlying tissue of origin.

The screening was created to identify eight different types of cancer. More research is needed to ensure that the test is effective, but early work shows promise.

"I do not think that this new test has really moved the field of early detection very far forward", said Paul Pharoah, professor of cancer epidemiology at the University of Cambridge.

The scientists optimized the panel by working to the concept of diminishing returns.

The findings were published in January in an issue of Science. They point out that this molecular test is exclusively aimed at cancer screening and, therefore, is different from other molecular tests, which rely on analyzing large numbers of cancer-driving genes to identify therapeutically actionable targets. The result was a relatively small panel of highly selective DNA markers.

"I suspect now you're looking at $1,000 or something like that, in terms of what the tests would cost". Early stage cancers shed fewer markers.

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It was only able to find 33% of breast cancer cases but had an accuracy rate of 98% when detecting ovarian cancer.

"It's also a test you would do in young people if they had a strong family history, or any other risk factor for cancer", Professor Gibbs told the ABC.

While much more research should be done to grow such a blood test to identify beginning period diseases in the overall public, the new investigation gives an extra piece to that bewilder, said Widschwendter.

The study was led by a team of U.S. researchers from Johns Hopkins University and involved 400 patients from Melbourne's Footscray Hospital. Only seven of these participants' had a blood test showing positive for these cancers.

Development of the "liquid biopsy" test is still in its early stages.

In a major breakthrough, scientists have devised a blood test that can detect eight of the most common types of cancer.

Those cancers included ovarian, pancreatic, stomach, liver and esophageal cancers.

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