Significant Step Forward With Basic Cancer Detection Blood Test

Encouraging work, although there is still much that needs done for progress.

A team of researchers has taken a major step toward one of the hottest goals in cancer research: a blood test that can detect tumors early. Their new test, which examines cancer-related DNA and proteins in the blood, yielded a positive result about 70% of the time across eight common cancer types in more than 1000 patients whose tumors had not yet spread—among the best performances yet for a universal cancer blood test. It also narrowed down the form of cancer, which previously published pan-cancer blood tests have not.

The work, reported online today in Sciencecould one day lead to a tool for routinely screening people and catching tumors before they cause symptoms, when chances are best for a cure. Other groups, among them startups with more than $1 billion in funding, are already pursuing that prospect. The new result could put the team, led by Nickolas Papadopoulos, Bert Vogelstein, and others at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, among the front-runners.

Article in the British press:

Tumours release tiny traces of their mutated DNA and proteins they make into the bloodstream.

The CancerSEEK test looks for mutations in 16 genes that regularly arise in cancer and eight proteins that are often released.

[…]

Dr Cristian Tomasetti, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the BBC: “This field of early detection is critical.

“I think this can have an enormous impact on cancer mortality.”

The earlier a cancer is found, the greater the chance of being able to treat it.

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