Early detection often makes the difference in successful cancer treatment. Thanks to a newly developed blood test, doctors will soon be able to screen for eight of the more common types of cancer.
Focusing on Early Stage Cancer Detection
CancerSEEK was developed by a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. It screens for cancers of the ovaries, liver, stomach, pancreas, colorectum, lung and breast. Collectively, these types are responsible for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.
Based on the idea that circulating tumor DNA mutations can be specific cancer markers, the researchers set out to study several hundred genes and 40 protein markers. They finally ended up with segments of 16 genes and eight proteins, with the small mutation panel minimizing the possibility of false-positive results.
According to Nickolas Papadopoulos, senior author of the study, the team was inspired by the concept of using combinations of drugs for cancer treatment. When the test was administered to 1,005 patients with non-metastatic cancer, its median overall sensitivity to cancer was 70 percent with only seven false-positives.
The Future of CancerSEEK
Researchers are proceeding to larger studies of CancerSEEK. They project that once the test is approved for use the cost will be less than $500, and primary care providers will be able to administer the test with other routine blood work.
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