Are we one-step-closer to a universal blood test for cancer?

The CancerSEEK test found 70% of cancer when tested on 1,005 patients with ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colon, lung or breast cancer patients whose cancer had not yet spread.

Currently, only five of the eight cancers investigated have their own screening programmes for early detection.

Whilst the discovery is incredibly exciting, more tests are needed to assess the test’s effectiveness at detecting early-stage cancers.

Ultimately, the goal is to have an annual blood test specifically designed to catch cancer early and save lives.  

The hope is that the blood test can compliment other forms of screening such as mammograms and colonoscopies. The cost of CancerSEEK is less than £360 – around the same price as a colonoscopy.

CancerSEEK hunts for the mutates DNA and proteins. Increasing the number of mutations and proteins being analysed could allow it to test for a wider range of cancers.

However, researchers have warned that it will take time to prove that CancerSEEK works as an early diagnosis tool.

Speaking on the research, Professor Richard Marais, Cancer Research UK, said:

"Detecting cancer early, before the disease has spread is one of the most powerful ways to improve cancer survival and this interesting research is a step towards being able to do this earlier than is currently possible."

However, Dr. Mangesh Thorat, Centre for Cancer Prevention, Queen Mary University of London, warned:

"A significant amount of further research is needed before we can even contemplate how this might play out in screening settings. This is only a case-control study, and therefore needs further evaluation in large cohorts more representative of general population where such screening might be introduced."

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