In the near future doctors may be able to diagnose ten different types of cancer using a blood test.
The ‘holy grail’ of deadly disease tests make the path for possibly a universal NHS screening programme that could be a lifesaver for tens of thousands of people every single year.
According to experts, the blood test allows early detection when chances of getting rid of the cancer are high. Cancer gets detected by pinpointing DNA that has broken away from a tumor. 749 cancer-free people where included in the research and 878 with recently diagnosed cancer which was not yet treated.
The test does not detect all form of cancers but it is able to detect ovarian, pancreatic, liver, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, colorectal, oesophageal, lung, head and neck, and breast cancers. It has the most success with the ovarian and pancreatic forms of cancer. This ‘comprehensive’ blood test can diagnose 90 percent of ovarian cancers and 80 percent of liver and pancreatic cancers.
Its success rate is so high that it was able to detect 4/5 liver tumors, 58 percent of breast cancers and 59 percent of lung cancers. According to the experts, the blood test could be available in hospitals within next few years and is likely to be very cost effective. It is thought to cost between $680 and $1,335 for a single test.
Lead Researcher Dr. Eric Klein from the Cleveland Clinic in the US told:
This test is able to detect multiple cancers at various stages with high specificity, indicating this approach is promising as a multi-cancer screening test. It gives us the opportunity to find cancers months or years before someone would develop symptoms and be diagnosed. It is potentially the Holy Grail of cancer research – to find cancers that are currently hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure. This test could be used for everybody, regardless of their family history. More research is needed but it could be given to healthy adults of a certain age, such as those over 40, to see if they have early signs of cancer.
Professor Nicholas Turner, from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, called the findings as ‘really exciting’. He told that cancers are usually detected late when it is really hard to get rid of and it leaves the chances of survival very low. He claimed the test is likely to be ready in few years for the hospitals. It has the potential to save a lot of lives
This revolutionary discovery was presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.