The World Health Organization (WHO) states cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths around the world. Medical experts and several startup companies have been doing their best to find a cure for the deadly disease. It seems though that there are less efforts in detecting the early stages, which supposedly will help prevent the spreading of cancer cells, and metastasis later on.
Fortunately, a group of international scientists has recently developed a blood test capable of screening various types of cancer in their early stages.
Researchers and scientists at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore are the ones behind the groundbreaking medical development called CancerSEEK known as a liquid biopsy. The newly discovered blood test is a noninvasive multi-analyze test that checks both the DNA and the levels of protein of a patient. This allows scientists to detect early-stage cancer, identify what type it is, and possibly determine the exact location of the illness.
One special thing about the blood test is that it can distinguish eight different types of cancer such as lung, breast, esophageal, liver, stomach, colorectal, ovarian, and pancreatic, in just a single testing.
The blood test is intended for people who think they do not have cancer until they experience the different symptoms. Dr. Nickolas Papadopoulos, the Professor of Oncology and Pathology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the senior author of the study, said that, “The success rate of therapeutics and surgeries is going to be much, much higher, we believe, if the cancer is found very early, before symptoms.”
In their preliminary trial, the group of international scientists took blood samples from 1,005 people who were previously diagnosed with cancer. The trial saw a 70% positive result and has only seven false positive results in a controlled group of 812 healthy people.
There is still a lot of work to do but Papadopoulos and his team believed that CancerSEEK could not just make the detection process of early-stage cancer much more attainable in the future, but also to become a part of the daily healthcare checkups. It will likely allow doctors to discover cancer early and prevent it from spreading.
CancerSEEK is not yet available for medical use. However, the researchers and scientists who are doing the study are pretty much working hard to perfect the medication. Moreover, different research groups and foundations are continuously funding the study about the single blood test and grants.
If the blood test will pass all the medical qualifications, people will get the opportunity to experience CancerSEEK for just $500. It is much cheaper than the currently available screen tests for single cancer types.
Papadopoulos mentioned that, “It is very expensive to treat patients with late-stage cancer because the drugs are very expensive. If cancer is an early-stage then it will be easier to treat, cheaper, and can save lives, compared to just extending it.”
The study on CancerSEEK started as a bold idea that might soon create a bold impact not just to the healthcare industry but also to the society. Many people will definitely benefit from this breakthrough, a one-step closer to defeating one of the most dangerous diseases ever.