According to BBC News, a new universal blood test is receiving a lot of buzz due to it’s potential to detect early stages of cancer. A research team at John Hopkins University has found success when undergoing clinical trails to detect cancers. Many experts expressed their excitement for what it could be, yet it is still early and more research needs to be done.
The team recognized that cancerous tumors tend to release “footprints” of the mutated DNA, as well as proteins, into the bloodstream. The test, known as CancerSEEK, searches for the mutations in 16 different genes, and 8 proteins, that most often show the rise of cancer when it first forms.
During their study, they conducted the blood test on 1,0005 patients with all different forms of cancer: lung, breast, colon, pancreas, stomach, ovarian, etc., and the blood test was able to detect 70% of the patients. The next step for the research team is to test individuals who have not been diagnosed and see if they can identify cancer before it’s taken its toll.
Dr. Christian Tomasetti, a researcher on the John Hopkins team expressed his belief that this could positively impact cancer mortality rates in the future. Researchers hope to implement these tests into yearly routine doctor visits, as well as compliment other routine screenings.
While the potential looks promising, and the team is excited, there is still much more research to be done. They would like to expand the reach of mutated DNA and proteins to identify more. Being able to widen the search could allow for more cancers to be discovered hopefully years before they would surface problems. Cancer Research UK’s Professor Richard Marais expressed that the best way for cancer survival is for early diagnosis. The earlier they can treat the problem, the more likely they can manage it and get rid of it.
There is more to be done as this was only a small controlled study and larger efforts need to take place. Still, the results are promising, and the released preliminary costs for the CancerSEEK blood test are looking to land around $500.