Researchers have developed a blood test for cancer that may detect the presence of eight common cancers, called CancerSEEK blood test. The CancerSEEK blood test detects tiny amounts of DNA and proteins released in the bloodstream from cancer cells. This could then indicate the presence of ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreatic, oesophageal, bowel, lung or breast cancers. Known as a liquid biopsy, the test is different from a standard biopsy, where a needle is put in a solid tumor to confirm a cancer diagnosis. CancerSEEK blood test is also far less invasive. This prevents significant nervousness and further invasive tests for all those that do not need them.
Several cancers can be screened for at once, and the test can be performed at the same time as routine blood tests, like a cholesterol check.
However, the CancerSEEK blood test for cancer detection is still some years away from being utilized in the clinic.
Frequently long before causing any symptoms, even very small tumors will start to release tiny amounts of mutated DNA and abnormal proteins into blood. While DNA and proteins are also released from normal cells, the DNA and proteins from cancer cells are distinctive, containing multiple changes not present in normal cells. The newly developed blood-based cancer DNA test is reliable, exquisitely very sensitive and it accurately detects a mutated fragment of DNA among 10, 000 normal DNA fragments. It’s like finding the needle in the haystack.
The researchers used CancerSEEK blood test in just over 1,000 people with various kinds of early-stage cancers. For each of those tumor types, there are currently no blood test available for cancer detection. Along with cancer detection, the CancerSEEK blood test accurately predicted what kind of cancer it was in 83% of cases. Published in the journal Science, the research was conducted by a researcher team from John Hopkins University, with collaboration from Australian scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
Why its important – Steady progress carries on to be made in the treatment of advanced cancers, including major gains in life expectancy.
However, this could come at a significant physical and financial cost. Early diagnosis remains the key to avoiding the potentially devastating impact of many cancer treatments and also to reducing cancer deaths. Nevertheless, where there are tested screening tests that lead to previous diagnoses and better outcomes, like colonoscopy screening for bowel cancer, these are usually unpleasant. They also have associated risks, they only screen for one cancer at a time and population uptake is frequently poor. And for many major tumor types, there are currently few cancer screening tests but all may have few side effects on the body.
Now CancerSEEK blood test for cancer detection is coming to India soon.
There are altered proteins and characteristic patterns of mutations that differ among cancer types. So CancerSEEK blood test for cancer can not only detect that there’s a cancer somewhere within the body but may also suggest where to start looking. For instance, if the pattern suggests an intestinal cancer, then a colonoscopy is a logical next step.
[ Reference: www.forbes.com ]