New Liquid Biopsy Detects Cancer at Earlier Stages Than Currently Possible

04 June, 2018, 04:46 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Vanessa Hillary

A new blood test reportedly able to detect certain types of cancer several years before a person falls ill has been hailed as a major breakthrough.

He said: ‘Far too many cancers are picked up too late, when it is no longer possible to operate and the chances of survival are slim.

Pancreatic cancer is usually diagnosed when the cancer is too advanced to be operated on, said Dr. Chris Abbosh, a clinical research associate at University College London's Cancer Institute. Scientists at Grail, a USA company funded by Mr Gates and Mr Bezos, have set their sights on identifying a range of cancers from a...

Dr Eric Klein, of Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute, which led the research, said: ‘This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are now hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure, and we hope this test could save many lives.

Among four cancer-free people who tested positive, the United States authors say two women were diagnosed with ovarian and endometrial cancer just months later.

The results showed that the test most accurately diagnosed ovarian cancer, with 90% accuracy, followed by hepatobiliary - a highly lethal cancer that attacks the liver and gallbladder - and pancreatic cancer, with 80% accuracy.

The test, known as a liquid biopsy, is used to screen for DNA from cancer cells and was able to detect 10 different cancers with good accuracy.

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The liquid biopsy is not yet ready for the clinic, according to the researchers, but its development marks a significant advance in the fight against cancer, says Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England who was not involved in the study.

The new study analyzed blood samples from 878 people who were recently diagnosed with cancer and 749 people who did not have cancer.

However, most of the patients find out they have cancer when they start showing signs.

The blood test found lymphoma and myeloma with slightly less accuracy, at 77% and 73%, and bowel cancer in two out of three patients. Head and neck cancer was detected in 56% of patients.

Researchers also found that more than half of patients in the study had mutations in their blood that came from white blood cells, and not tumors, requiring them to develop a method to screen those out to prevent false positives. Lung cancer was detected in 59% of patients.

Still, the research shows promise in a blood-based approach to future cancer screening.

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