Liquid biopsy blood tests could detect cancer early

The test could identify cancers of the ovary with 90 per cent accuracy

Klein and his research team (Stanford University) have conducted a study, in which they found that the test could detect pancreatic, ovarian, liver, and gallbladder cancers.

Professor Nicholas Turner, from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, described the findings as ‘really exciting' and said that they could potentially be used for ‘universal screening'.

The tests, called liquid biopsies, screen for cancer by detecting tiny bits of DNA released by cancer cells into blood.

Klein and his fellow researchers plan on presenting their findings to the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

The new study analyzed blood samples from 878 people who were recently diagnosed with cancer and 749 people who did not have cancer.

The non-invasive DNA blood test isn't yet ready to use in practice, but the test would enable cancers to be detected in the early stages, before symptoms begin, when treatment is more likely to succeed.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said such advances in medicine could "dramatically transform" the tools doctors use to screen cancer.

"Most cancers are detected at a late stage, but this "liquid biopsy" gives us the opportunity to find them months or years before someone would develop symptoms and be diagnosed".

The best results were for ovarian and pancreatic cancer, diagnosing 90 and 80 per cent of people with these diseases.

Dr Eric Klein told The Telegraph that the new test could help doctors "find cancers that are now hard to cure and at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure".

Grail's lung cancer data comes from a wider study that eventually aims to enroll 15,000 participants and cover 20 different types of cancers.

The research examined the cases of more than 1600 people. As for cancers of the head and neck, or lung cancer, the detection rate was only 56% and 59%. They have identified a new kind of blood test that can determine the presence of 10 different cancers long before tumors even occur.

Researchers said their results showed promise in the approach of blood screenings for cancer, but noted further "clinical development" was needed.

On average, cancer rates in the United Kingdom have increased by seven per cent in the last decade, however, in women, the number of diagnoses have risen by a whopping nine per cent in the last ten years.

There is a "huge interest" in developing liquid biopsy for cancer, Takabe told Live Science, because the tests could have the potential to catch cancer very early.

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