A method has been trialed by a team at Johns Hopkins University that detects eight common forms of the disease. Their vision is an annual test designed to catch cancer initially and save lives.
UK experts said it was “enormously exciting”. As reported by Washington Post, scientists are “very, very excited” about what they see as a positive “first step” in developing a blood test that could detect a variety of cancers. According to a study published in the journal Science, the Cancer SEEK test was used by the researchers, which looks for cancer-tied proteins and DNA, on 1,005 patients who’d already been diagnosed, and they found about 70% of eight different cancers: breast, colon, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and liver, with hits highest for ovarian cancer (98%), per MIT Technology Review.
“This field of early detection is critical. I think this can have a huge impact on cancer mortality,” told Dr. Cristian Tomasetti, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to BBC. Finding cancer earlier has the greater chance of being able to treat it and five of the eight cancers have been investigated having no screening programmes for early detection. Pancreatic cancer has so few symptoms which are detected so late that four in five patients die in the year they get diagnosed and according to Tomasetti, finding tumors when they can still be removed by surgery and would be ‘a night and a day difference’ for the survival.
The CancerSEEK test— a novel as it hunts for both the mutated DNA and the proteins – has been reported in the journal ‘Science’. Team leader in the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research, London as well as consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Dr. Gert Attard has told the BBC that this is of massive potential and he is enormously excited as this is the Holy Grail – a blood test to diagnose cancer without all the other procedures like scans or colonoscopy.