New Research Shows Promise For Detecting Deadly Cancers Via Blood Test
TIME reports that scientists are making inroads when it comes to creating ways to detect many types of cancer at a very early stage, a breakthrough that will be especially welcome for the most deadly types of cancer that currently don't have routine early-detection methods.
New "Liquid Biopsy" Blood Test Shows Promise
Johns Hopkins University scientists have been working on a liquid biopsy test of sorts, with the goal of finding DNA and other matter that tumors can shed into blood, looking to find the cancer before it spreads. Catching tumors at an early stage, before they are detected by other means, can greatly increase the chances for successful treatment.
Early success in detecting common types of cancer
The blood test developed by Johns Hopkins University scientists can currently detect around 70% of eight common types of cancer, as tested on just over one thousand patients who were known to have cancer. The rate of successful detection varied depending on the type of cancer, with lower detection rates for breast tumors, but high rates of detection for ovarian, liver, and pancreatic tumors.
In addition, the test was able to narrow down the possible location of the tumor to one or two likely places, which could help to reduce the amount of follow-up diagnostic care the patient could need to go through. When tested on just over 800 cancer-free patients, the test resulted in only seven false positives.
Great - so what's next?
While the test is not ready for mass-use at this point in time (it needs to be validated in a larger study that focuses on the general population rather than a limited set of cancer patients this testing is already underway), it is exciting to see where the future of medicine and cancer detection could be headed.
For more information, read the full article at TIME.
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