In the US, a universal blood test for cancer is tested

US, a universal blood test

Experts say the results are exciting, but some believe that it is too early to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the test.

Scientists on a step approached one of the cherished goals of world medicine - a universal analysis of blood for cancer. A group of scientists from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (USA) tested a method that identifies the eight most common types of cancer, the BBC reports.

The goal of the scientists was to develop a universal test, which can be performed once a year in order to identify a cancer tumor at an early stage. British experts call the results exciting, but some believe that it is too early to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the test.

Cancerous tumors secrete tiny patches of mutated DNA and protein-oncomarkers into the bloodstream. The CancerSEEK test is looking for mutations in the 16 genes that normally cause cancer, and eight kinds of markers that appear in the blood plasma with an already emerging tumor.

The analysis was tested in 1005 patients with ovarian, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, large intestine, lung and breast cancer, which has not yet spread to other tissues. The test found cancer in 70% of cases. Now the CancerSEEK test is tested on those who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Then it will be possible to draw definitive conclusions about its effectiveness. A doctor from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Christian Thomasetti says that in the case of cancer, the most important thing is early diagnosis. "This has a very strong effect on the mortality rate," he says. The earlier a tumor is detected, the easier it is to cure it. In five of the eight cases, cancer can not be detected at an early stage.

Pancreatic cancer has so few symptoms and it can be detected so late that four out of five patients die in the year of diagnosis. Finding tumors at the operable stage is crucial for survival, says Thomasetti.

It is expected that a blood test will complement other types of diagnosis, such as breast mammography or colon colonoscopy. According to the journal Science, CancerSEEK is an innovative technology, since it allows to identify both mutated DNA sites and protein-oncomarkers. The number of proteins and mutations in the test can be increased, which will allow us to see more varieties of the disease. Gert Attard of the Cancer Research Institute in London, a practicing oncologist, considers such a test a "Holy Grail".

However, according to him, it is still not clear what to do after the cancer tumor was diagnosed. In some cases, treatment of a non-life-threatening tumor may be even worse than constant monitoring of the patient. For example, in the case of slowly progressing prostate cancer, continuous monitoring proved to be better than treatment. Read also How alcohol causes cancer: the results of a new study are announced "When we diagnose a disease differently, we should not consider that everyone without exception needs treatment," Attard says. To prove that the analysis works as a method of early diagnosis, it can take 5-6 years, says Richard Mare from Cancer Research UK. "It is necessary to find out how the test results are influenced by other diseases, such as angina or influenza," he says.

"The fact that the analysis determines a cancerous tumor does not mean that it will successfully detect it at an asymptomatic stage." The sensitivity of the test to the first stage of cancer in the study was only 40%, "says Paul Faro, a professor at Cambridge University.

Source: telegraf

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