A new blood test developed by researchers at John Hopkins University has taken science a step closer to early cancer detection.
The innovative blood test is a huge leap forward in cancer screening in that it can detect signs of eight different types of cancer before symptoms begin to appear in patients. Authors of the study say these eight particular types of cancer are responsible for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.
The test, which is called CancerSEEK, works by looking for 16 genes and 10 proteins that are linked to cancer. Team research leader Nickolas Papadopoulos, a professor of oncology and pathology at Johns Hopkins said, “The goal is to look for as many cancer types as possible in one test, and to identify cancer as early as possible.”
The study, which was published in Science, tested 1,005 patients who had cancers including colon, pancreatic, breast, lung, live, ovarian or esophageal. The ability to detect traces of the disease varied from one form of cancer to another, however, the blood test was able to detect cancer anywhere from 33 percent to 98 percent of the time.
For cancers such as liver, ovarian, esophageal or stomach, the accuracy range improved, ranging from between 69 percent to 98 percent.
Although researchers are excited about the progress in the work, they are calling it a “first step” and say that more studies are needed before the test is ready for routine use.