01 Apr 20
Cancers are easier to treat and have a better prognosis when they are identified early. However, many cancers have few or no signs or symptoms until they are at a later stage. This new test looks for chemical changes to bits of genetic code – cell-free DNA – that leak from tumours into the bloodstream and give away the presence of cancer cells. The researchers, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, working with colleagues from The Francis Crick Institute and University College London, tested more than 4,000 samples from patients – some with and some without cancer. More than 50 types of cancer, such as bowel, lung and ovarian, were included and in 96% of the samples, the test accurately detected the type of cancer.
Cancer Research UK early detection head Dr David Crosby said: “Detecting cancers at their earliest stages, when they are less aggressive and more treatable, has a huge potential to save lives and we sorely need tech innovations that can turn this potential into reality.” “Although this test is still at an early stage of development, the initial results are encouraging.” “And if the test can be fine-tuned to be more efficient at catching cancers in their earliest stages, it could become a tool for early detection.”
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