Scientists develop cancer-detecting blood test

New study shows that a simple blood test can identify eight of the most common cancers using a patient’s DNA.


Upon testing in over 1,000 patients, researchers have found that the blood test can use the DNA of patients to identify eight of the most common cancers.

The new test can be used in routine screening programmes in order to increase the number of patients who may want to get treatment early, especially that cancer usually shows up later when using conventional scans.

Nickolas Papadopoulos, professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University and the senior author of the newly released research paper, said to The Guardian: “The use of a combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer, and it is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers.”

The test detected between 33 percent and 98 percent of cases in the blood samples of 1,005 patients. The easiest to detect was ovarian cancer, followed by liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophageal, colorectal, lung and breast cancers.

“Many of the most promising cancer treatments we have today only benefit a small minority of cancer patients, and we consider them major breakthroughs. If we are going to make progress in early cancer detection, we have to begin looking at it in a more realistic way, recognising that no test will detect all cancers,” added Bert Vogelstein, a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins.

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