‘Holy Grail’ Blood Test May Detect Cancer Before Tumors Form

‘Holy Grail’ Blood Test May Detect Cancer Before Tumors Form

A new blood test is able to detect 10 different types of cancers years before patients show symptoms, according to the research from Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute.

"This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are now hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure, and we hope this test could save many lives", lead author Eric Klein, an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic in OH, tells The Telegraph.

Lead author Geoffrey Oxnard, associate professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said: "We're excited that initial results from the CCGA study show it is possible to detect early-stage lung cancer from blood samples using genome sequencing". Of those tested, 749 were cancer-free, and 878 were newly diagnosed.

Dr Eric Klein, of Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute, which led the research, said: ‘This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are now hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure, and we hope this test could save many lives.

The findings will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago this weekend.

The "comprehensive" test identified 90 percent of ovarian cancers and 80 percent of pancreatic and liver cancers.

The blood test looks for fragments of DNA that have been released into the blood by quickly developing cancer cells.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said the test has the potential to "unlock enormous survival gains" across the NHS.

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"Now, as the NHS marks its 70th anniversary, we stand on the cusp of a new era of personalised medicine that will dramatically transform care for cancer and for inherited and rare diseases", said Stevens.

However, most of the patients find out they have cancer when they start showing signs.

We all have to sit for a blood test once in our lifetime. Lung cancer and cancers of the head and neck trailed behind, with 59 and 56 percent detection rates.

Researchers concluded that they will need to perform more clinical development.

'This approach is promising as a multi-cancer screening test, ' they concluded.

It was less able to pick up stomach, uterine and early-stage low-grade prostate cancer.

Brain tumours are very complex and have unique properties, hence further work will be required to determine whether this current test may be useful.

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