A team of researchers recently presented a new genetic blood test which might pave the way towards an early and better detection of early stage cancers. This new sort of liquid biopsy scans the blood and looks for specific DNA fragments.
This Liquid Biopsy Might Prove Lifesaving by Preventing Late Stage Detection
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore scientists are behind this new study. The study lead, Dr. Victor Velculescu, explained that their genetic blood test is specifically targeted as specific DNA fragments.
The team determined these markers after analyzing blood samples from patients diagnosed with lung, breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancer. These were screened for mutations, which helped spot 58 “cancer-driver” genes tied to these various types of the disease.
Then, Dr. Velculescu and his colleagues developed a genetic scan in the form of a liquid biopsy. One that analyzes the blood and looks for particular DNA fragments, and then compares them to determine which type of cancer they might be.
The team then tested their new liquid biopsy test on patients that had been previously diagnosed with cancer. This proved its efficiency in detecting stage 1 or 2 breast, lung, ovarian, and colon cancer. The test was in between 59 percent to 71 percent accurate in doing so.
Also, the liquid biopsy was tested and proven highly accurate in its capability to screen out cancer-free people.
“This study shows that identifying cancer early using DNA changes in the blood is feasible and that our high accuracy sequencing method is a promising approach to achieve this goal,” stated Dr. Velculescu.
The research team will now be looking to improve the accuracy and detection rate of its liquid biopsy. Still, the scientists consider it an important step forward, especially as it is capable of detecting early stages of cancers which, at a late stage, are deadly in many cases.
More research will be needed, and also larger trials will have to be conducted, points out the team.
Current study results are available in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
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