According to a report which the journal Science recently published, researchers may now be one step closer to fully developing a blood test to detect eight types of cancers. If things go as planned, this test could even detect the disease before any symptoms appear. The experts now think that their idea could turn into a $500 blood test meant to identify the disease in the earliest stages and therefore, increase the chances for a successful treatment. Still, while the idea is there and the efforts seem to be successful, the team has a long way to go.
This is mainly because over the years, many have attempted to create such blood tests to detect cancer. Some of those were looking for certain proteins in the blood that usually appear with cancer. At the same time, others seemed to be focusing more on DNA and tumors. Unfortunately, none of these ideas offered reliable results. This is why Nickolas Papadopoulos, a professor of oncology and pathology, gathered a team and tried to develop a new approach with the same purpose. His idea actually blends two different methods.
A blood test to discover cancer
At the moment, their experimental test is called CancerSEEK and has eight types of cancer as its main focus: breast, lung, colon, liver, pancreas, stomach, esophagus and ovary. According to Papadopoulos, they selected these types of cancer taking into account how frequently they appear. In order to have a preliminary test of their method, the team analyzed 1,005 people who had already received the diagnostic of cancer. The test found the disease in 70% of them.
Also, out of 812 people who did not suffer from cancer, the test gave a false reading in seven of them. So, the method is by no means perfect. At least for now. For the test to be a success, it needs to correctly detect cancer in over 40% of a number of people. And this is the target the team is aiming for right now.
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