A blood test that could potentially detect early stage cancer

From NBC News:

Scientists are edging closer to developing blood tests that could detect early stage cancer, before patients show any symptoms of the disease.

One such test, called PanSeer, can potentially spot five types of cancers up to four years earlier than current diagnostic methods, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

The test works by detecting tiny bits of DNA that tumor cells release into the bloodstream. Researchers have been working on this type of DNA sequencing application for years, and the development brings the industry a step closer to using a blood test to diagnose cancer before it progresses into advanced stages, which are more difficult to treat.

“We’re turning the proof of concept stage into a commercial product that is robust, inexpensive and can be deployed in clinics,” said study co-author Kun Zhang, department chair of bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego, who co-founded Singlera Genomics, the company that designed PanSeer. At this point, however, the test is still years away from being used by doctors.

Dr. Eric Klein, a urologist at the Taussig Cancer Institute at Cleveland Clinic, called the findings “another validation, adding to the several other studies that have been published, that cancers do release bits of DNA into the bloodstream that can be detected at low levels.”

“The four-year prediction was incredible,” Klein, who was not involved with the research, added.

Story source: NBC News.

Featured image credit: NBC News.