Liquid Biopsy

As tumor cells devide and grow they shed DNA which travels through the patients blood streams. This new blood test looks for the shed DNA. Jocelyn Kaiser writes, in her January 18, 2018 article for Science, about work being done by Joshua D. Cohen et al. The team has developed, CancerSEEK, a blood test that has proven up to 99% accurate in clinical a study of 1005 patients previously diagnosed with cancer and with 850 healthy control individuals.

Early Detection

The key to overcoming cancer is to detect it early before it metastasizes. The clinical trial studied 1005 patients with  previously diagnosed cancer of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colorectum, lung, or breast. The team’s test results had a median accuracy rate of 70% of the eight cancer types. Kaiser writes that this development “could one day lead to a tool for routinely screening people and catching tumors before they cause symptoms, when chances are best for a cure. Other groups, among them startups with more than $1 billion in funding, are already pursuing that prospect.  The researchers have already begun a large study to see whether the test can pick up tumors in seemingly cancer-free women.”

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