New blood diopsy test could herald new age in cancer treatment

New blood diopsy test could herald new age in cancer treatment

A new blood test shows promise for detecting many types of cancer, even in the early stages of the disease, according to a new study.

In its trial stage, the test proved particularly successful in detecting genetic diseases, including pancreatic and ovarian cancers.

The test also detected pancreatic cancer with 80 percent accuracy, hepatobiliary cancer (cancer of the liver, bile duct or gallbladder) with 80 percent accuracy, lymphoma with 77 percent accuracy, multiple myeloma (a cancer of white blood cells) with 73 percent accuracy and colorectal cancer with 66 percent accuracy.

Scientists in the U.S. have found a simple test can pick up early signs of cancers including breast, ovarian, bowel and lung cancer.

The test uses whole genome sequencing. One of the issues is the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain.

The test called a "liquid biopsy", screens for 10 types of the disease by detecting trace amounts of DNA released into the bloodstream by cancer cells.

At the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists in Chicago, experts further discussed the concept and how it could help doctors in the future. "And, in this case applied to a high risk group to show how effective it would be in detecting cancer at its earliest stage". The symptoms can often be quite generic, like tiredness and weight loss, so many people don't find out they have the disease until it has really taken hold.


It works by pinpointing DNA that has broken free of a tumor.

Fiona Osgun, from Cancer Research UK, added: "The idea that we could one day offer people a blood test that could find cancer earlier is certainly exciting".

It is part of a new generation of "liquid biopsies" which have advantages for early detection of cancer over traditional biopsies which remove tissue, such as part of the breast or lung, from someone's body.

"Most cancers are detected at a late stage, but this "liquid biopsy" gives us the opportunity to find them months or years before someone would develop symptoms and be diagnosed".

"Far too many cancers are picked up too late, when it is no longer possible to operate and the chances of survival are slim", said Prof Nicholas Turner from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, according to The Guardian.

The wonder-test could be in use in just a few years time but comes with a hefty price tag.

'In particular, new techniques for precision early diagnosis would unlock enormous survival gains, as well as dramatic productivity benefits in the practice of medicine'.

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