A newly developed single blood test has the potential to spot cancer gene mutation

Cancer Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in the USA invented a single blood test that screens for eight common forms of cancer and help identify the location of the disease.The test, called CancerSEEK, looks for mutations in 16 genes and evaluates the levels of eight proteins usually released by cancer sufferers.

The study is published in a medical journal and it states that the procedure will be available of patients in next year onwards.

This is for the first time scientists seeing the potential for a blood test that can screen for many types of nasty cancers that until now we’ve had to wait until symptoms are diagnosed quite late.

A team of US and Australian researchers trialled the blood test on more than 1,000 cancer patients.

Abstract of the study explains how CancerSEEK operates.

Earlier detection is key to reducing cancer deaths. Here we describe a blood test that can detect eight common cancer types through assessment of the levels of circulating proteins and mutations in cell-free DNA. We applied this test, called CancerSEEK, to 1,005 patients with non-metastatic, clinically detected cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, colorectum, lung, or breast. CancerSEEK tests were positive in a median of 70% of the eight cancer types. The sensitivities ranged from 69% to 98% for the detection of five cancer types (ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, and esophagus) for which there are no screening tests available for average-risk individuals. The specificity of CancerSEEK was > 99%: only 7 of 812 healthy controls scored positive. In addition, CancerSEEK localized cancer to a small number of anatomic sites in a median of 83% of the patients.

According to Bert Vogelstein, professor of Oncology at Johns Hopkins University.  ”Many of the most promising cancer treatments we have today only benefit a small minority of cancer patients, and we consider them major breakthroughs,”  “This test represents the next step in changing the focus of cancer research from late-stage disease to early disease, which I believe will be critical to reducing cancer deaths in the long term,”

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