New Early-Stage Cancer Test on Trial

Ovarian cancer cell

Peter Gibbs, from Australia's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, were part of the USA -led research team that developed the tests for cancers affecting the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, bowel, lung and breast, the facility said in a statement.

'The now available screening tests can also be unpleasant, have associated risks and uptake can be low. The types of tumors included in this test account for about 60 percent of the deaths from cancer in the United States, according to the paper.

A new cancer detection test may help save thousands of lives through early detection of tumours. "The extent of basic diseases - bosom, lung, colorectal - distinguished is again not as high as other, rarer tumors".

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CancerSEEK is different because it combines tests that look for 16 genes and 10 proteins linked to cancer, explained Lennon, of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore. And the test hasn't even been tried on patients who have yet to develop symptoms.

"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".

For the study, the team gathered 1,005 participants newly diagnosed with these eight cancers. Some seemingly healthy people could harbour inflammatory diseases that alter the levels of the proteins targeted by the test, she says. The accuracy range was better - 69 percent to 98 percent - when it came to five cancers that now have no widely used screening test, the scientists reported in a new study. There are now an array of tests that are available to pick up early detection, which to date is the most effective way of beating cancer.

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Researchers say the test could cost around $500 based on current materials and methods, but the ultimate goal is to commercialize it, so what a company would charge is unknown. In contrast, the CancerSEEK test "utilizes combined assays for genetic alterations and protein biomarkers and has the capacity not only to identify the presence of relatively early cancers but also to localize the organ of origin of these cancer". "In fact, keeping the mutation panel small is essential to minimize false-positive results and keep such screening tests affordable".

He told the BBC the scientists were "very close" to using blood tests to screen for cancer as "we have the technology". Prof Turner added: "There could be a lot of people who are told they have cancer, who may not have it".

But whether CancerSEEK will improve clinical outcomes, he said, is an empirical question that will be answered by testing the test "in a more real-world setting, where we will be screening healthy individuals".

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The research, outlined in the Science medical journal, suggests that the new test has been successful in trials at identifying cancer cells in the blood stream before cancer has even developed. Study results will be available in the next three to five years. "We want to kick the tires of this test", Papadopoulos said.

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