"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

A brand new blood test can detect eight different cancers within the early stages.

Researchers have. Prepared a blood test which might detect the presence of eight common cancers. Called CancerSEEK, the blood test detects small amounts of DNA and proteins released into the bloodstream from cancer cells. It can then indicate the presence of ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, oesophageal, bowel, lung or breast cancer.

Known as a liquid biopsy, this test is sort of different from a typical biopsy, where a needle is inserted right into a solid tumor to verify a cancer diagnosis. CancerSEEK can also be much less invasive. This will be refrained from even knowing that cancer is present, and subsequently allows for earlier diagnosis and greater opportunities for treatment.

This test has been shown to reliably detect early-stage and curable cancers. It has also rarely been found to be positive in individuals who do not need cancer. This prevents significant anxiety and further invasive tests for individuals who don’t need them.

Several cancers will be screened for at the identical time, and the test will be done concurrently a routine blood test, corresponding to a cholesterol check. But this test remains to be just a few years away from getting used within the clinic.

How the test works

Often long before they cause any symptoms, even very small tumors begin to release minute amounts of altered DNA and abnormal proteins into the blood. While DNA and proteins are also released from normal cells, the DNA and proteins from cancer cells are unique, with multiple mutations not present in normal cells.

A newly developed blood-based cancer DNA test is very sensitive, accurately detecting one mutated piece of DNA out of 10,000 normal pieces of DNA, literally “finding a needle in a horse's head.” “.

Tumors release altered DNA and abnormal proteins into the blood.
From shutterstock.com

We used CancerSeq in only over 1,000 individuals with various varieties of early-stage cancer. It was shown to accurately detect cancers, including 70% or more of pancreatic, ovarian, liver, stomach and esophageal cancers. There are currently no screening tests available for every of those tumor types – blood-based or otherwise.

Along with detecting cancer, blood tests can accurately predict the form of cancer in 83 percent of cases.

Published within the journal. scienceThe research was led by a team at Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Australian scientists on the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

Why is that this vital?

Advances proceed to be made within the treatment of advanced cancer, including major gains in life expectancy. But this could come at a major physical and financial cost. Early diagnosis is vital to avoiding the possibly devastating negative effects of many cancer treatments and reducing cancer deaths.

However, where there are proven screening tests that result in earlier diagnosis and higher outcomes, corresponding to colonoscopy screening for bowel cancer, these are generally unfavorable. There are risks related to them, there is barely one cancer screen at a time and population growth is usually low. And there are currently no effective screening tests for a lot of major tumor types.

There are specific patterns of mutations and altered proteins that differ amongst cancer types. So CancerSEEK can’t only detect where there may be cancer within the body, but in addition suggest where to begin looking.

For example, if the pattern suggests colon cancer, a colonoscopy is the logical next step. When blood samples were taken from greater than 800 apparently healthy controls, lower than 1% scored a positive test. This implies that the test is never positive for individuals who do not need cancer, thus reducing the issue of overdiagnosis.

Overall, these results look like in stark contrast to previously developed blood-based tests for cancer screening. The just one currently widely used is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer. It has several limitations and a few would argue that the jury remains to be out on whether PSA-based testing does more good than harm.

What next?

Large trials are actually underway within the US, offering CancerSec testing to 1000’s of healthy people. Cancer incidence and outcomes in these people will probably be in comparison with a control group who haven’t had testing. Results of the study will probably be available in the subsequent three to 5 years.