A New Blood Test May Help Early Detection of 8 Cancers

A New Blood Test May Help Early Detection of 8 Cancers

"The use of a combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we control the presence of cancer and is based on the same logic we use combinations of drugs to treat cancers", said N. Papadopoulos. The study appeared online in the journal 'Science'. The said project was developed by a medical team at John Hopkins University in the United States.

The investigators initially explored several hundred genes and 40 protein markers, cutting the number down to segments of 16 genes and eight proteins. Even if the test has proven to be more successful with particular forms of cancer, it comes with great potential and offer a glimmer of hope to many people. Only seven were flagged as positives, meaning researchers could not be certain if the results were false positives or the seven individuals had early-stage cancer but were showing no symptoms.

The test was performed on 1,005 patients previously diagnosed with stages 1-3 cancer, such as: ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, esophagus, colon, lung and breast.

Nicholas Turner, professor of molecular oncology at The Institute of Cancer Research in London, also told AFP that the one percent false positive rate "could be quite a concern for population screening". Sensitivity ranged from 69 percent to 98 percent for the five cancers that now have no routine screening tests, the researchers report.

The blood tests are unique due to its ability to detect mutated genes in the DNA of the person.

It is also able to detect the origins in around 80 percent of cases, the study found.

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Protesters also got signatures for their petition, asking the Nova Scotia government to increase the minimum wage. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the passing of the "Fair Workplaces Act' (Bill 148)".

According to report, 70 percent success was recorded with the new test, but that cannot be used to draw a conclusion on the test as more and larger studies still need to be carried out on it in order to be sure if actually, it can help save the lives of cancer patients. For each of these tumor types, there are now no screening tests available - blood-based or otherwise. As to how useful it is in practice, he stressed that "a test need not be ideal to be useful". The result was a relatively small panel of highly selective DNA markers. "Earlier detection provides many ways to improve outcomes for patients", says study co-author Dr. Anne Marie Lennon, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of medicine, surgery, and radiology at Johns Hopkins.

CancerSEEK is noninvasive and can, in principle, be administered by primary care providers at the time of other routine blood work.

A conservative estimate is for cost savings in the US of $26 billion per year from effective early detection. However, the authors of the study mentioned that it is important to keep in mind the fact that the CancerSEEK was tested in controlled research conditions, on subjects that were not suffering from any other disease or illness, thus reducing the chance of other factors interfering with the results of the tests.

As far as the costs of the screening are concerned, the CancerSEEK test was estimated at approximately $500 per person, making it accessible to a wider range of people.

Larger studies of the test are now under way.

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