New blood test could be the ‘holy grail of cancer research’

Trials on 1,400 patients reportedly found the procedure to identify DNA markers worked with up to 90% accuracy

Trials on 1,400 patients reportedly found the procedure to identify DNA markers worked with up to 90% accuracy

The research studied the ability of three different prototype sequencing tests to detect cancer in blood samples from people with early to advanced lung cancers.

Doctors say it opens the possibility of treatment for cancers that are often hard or impossible to cure because they can not be detected early enough, saving more lives, and slashing medical costs.

Professor Nicholas Turner, from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, described the findings as "really exciting" and could be used for "universal screening".

Scientists in the USA have found a simple test can pick up early signs of cancers including breast, ovarian, bowel and lung cancer. Experts were "very optimistic" that the test would transform the chances of patients with some of the most deadly cancers.

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

Klein and his research team (Stanford University) have conducted a study, in which they found that the test could detect pancreatic, ovarian, liver, and gallbladder cancers.

The blood test screens for the deadly disease by detecting tiny bits of DNA released by cancer cells into blood.

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. Of them, 878 people had been newly diagnosed with a disease, and 749 people were cancer-free without any diagnosis.

The test detected 90% of ovarian, 80% of pancreatic and two thirds of bowel cancer cases (66%), according to the research.

"In stage I disease, surgical interventions are most likely to remove all a patient's cancer and result in a cure - this data is no yet available", Abbosh said. They have identified a new kind of blood test that can determine the presence of 10 different cancers long before tumors even occur. Head and neck cancer was detected in 56% of patients.

Dr. Geoffrey Oxnard of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who led the study, called the findings "promising early results", but said the tests need to be validated in a larger group of people.

It was less able to pick up stomach, uterine and early-stage low-grade prostate cancer.

Klein added: "It is several steps away and more research is needed, but it could be given to healthy adults of a certain age, such as those over 40, to see if they have early signs of cancer".

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