Scientists Develop Blood Test That Can Detect Cancer Four Years Ahead

By 07:30 Thu, 23 Jul 2020 Comments



A blood test can detect signs of cancer four years before symptoms appear, an “exciting” new study led by Chinese researchers found.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

The non-invasive blood test, called PanSeer, detects cancer in 95 percent of individuals who have no symptoms but later receive a diagnosis, the researchers found.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

“We demonstrated that five types of cancer can be detected through a DNA methylation-based blood test up to four years before conventional diagnosis,” the team wrote in the Nature Communications journal.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

The tests, known as liquid biopsies, are likely unable to predict patients who will later develop cancer — but instead they can identify those with existing cancerous growths that have not yet been spotted by other detection methods.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

Researchers say the test is based on screening DNA found in blood plasma for tags called methyl groups that tend to appear in tumors, according to the Guardian.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

The team used blood plasma samples collected from people in China between 2007 and 2014.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

While this isn’t the first time research indicated that a blood test can aid in the early detection of cancer, the team told the outlet that — unlike many other studies — this one shows that cancers can be detected before patients appear to show any symptoms.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

Dr. Eric Klein, of Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute, told the Guardian the study is a step in the right direction.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

“This is an exciting study which provides further confirmation that methylation-based assays can detect cell-free circulating tumour DNA and may form the basis for new screening tests that detect cancer at early stages,” he said. “There is a need for such tests to screen for cancers for which there are currently no effective screening paradigms.”

The Chinese study does have limitations — including the relatively small sample size, inadequate storage, and concerns about possible contamination, according to the report.(Wapbaze_Copyright)

The test also does not have the ability to identify the type of cancer a person has.


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