Scientists have developed a single blood test called “CancerSEEK ” that could screen eight common cancer types. CancerSEEK, which was developed after 30 years of research could also help in detecting the location of cancer.
The findings of the discovery were published online by Science on Jan. 18. The discovery was led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. The new blood test is a unique noninvasive and multianalyte test that could assess simultaneously eight cancer proteins as well as the visibility of the cancer gene mutations from the circulating DNA in the blood, according to Medical Xpress.
Nickolas Papadopoulos, Ph.D., senior author, and professor of oncology and pathology, said that the use of the combination of chosen biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way they screen for cancer. He further said that this is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers.
The eight common cancer types that this single blood test could detect include the cancer of the liver, ovary, pancreas, colon, breast, lung, stomach, and esophagus. These account for over 60 percent of cancer deaths in the United States. As of now, there are no screening tests on ovarian, stomach, liver, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers.
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Dr. Papadopoulos explained that the goal of this blood test is to look for as many cancer types as possible in one test and to detect cancer as early as possible. He further explained that when you detect cancer early, it is easier to kill it by surgery or chemotherapy.
In the study that tested the CancerSEEK, it identified cancer in 70 percent of blood samples taken from 1,005 patients who had already been diagnosed with one of eight cancer types. The researchers noted that the test seemed to be effective in identifying and locating some types of cancer compared to others. One example of this is that it spotted ovarian cancer 98 percent of the time.
It also better in identifying later stage cancer. CancerSEEK detected the disease 78 percent of the time in patients diagnosed with stage III cancer, 73 percent of the time in those with stage II cancer and 43 percent of the time with stage I cancer.
Dr. Papadopoulos said that this could be a very good beginning for detecting some forms of cancer. The scientists are still evaluating the test, but they are hoping that the test could be available soon to the public. He added that the test might cost less than $500 and must be administered by a primary care physician’s office, as noted by Los Angeles Times.