Sydney, A new blood test that can help in the early diagnoses of eight common cancers before they spread and risk patients' chances of survival has been developed by Australian researchers.
An example is the comment of Dr. Gert Attard, the team leader at the Centre for Evolution and Cancer at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom, who is also a consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, on the discovery.
The work was financed by many foundations, the Mayo Clinic, the National Institutes of Health and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which provides The Associated Press with funding for health and science coverage. They point out that this molecular test is exclusively aimed at cancer screening and, therefore, is different from other molecular tests, which rely on analyzing large numbers of cancer-driving genes to identify therapeutically actionable targets. It spotted only 33 percent of breast cancers, but caught 98 percent of ovarian cancers - a particularly lethal disease.
To precisely determine the optimal number of DNA bases to assess in the CancerSEEK test, the researchers used a method based on diminishing returns.
Cancer survival rates are directly linked to how advanced the disease is in a patient during diagnosis, which means that blood tests that can accurately detect the illness well before the symptoms are present is urgently needed.
Professor Richard Marais, a researcher at the Cancer Research UK, also relayed his opinion on CancerSEEK, "Detecting cancer early, before the disease has spread, is one of the most powerful ways to improve cancer survival and this interesting research is a step towards being able to do this earlier than is now possible". "I'm enormously excited. This is the Holy Grail - a blood test to diagnose cancer without all the other procedures like scans or colonoscopy". So patients in a real-life screening likely would have less advanced disease and might be more hard to test.Also, in a real-life scenario, even healthy patients who would be tested could have inflammatory or other diseases that could skew test results, which wasn't seen among the healthy patients in the study.The researchers have moved forward with a follow-up, five-year study to further evaluate the blood test, Papadopoulos said in a teleconference with reporters on Friday. "We designed our test to reflect this point of diminishing returns, including the DNA markers that were useful to detecting the cancers and eliminating those that did not add benefit".
The test is aimed at screening for eight common cancer types that account for more than 60 per cent of cancer deaths in the USA, researchers said. It did less well at the very earliest stage.
It was able to detect tumours in patients in the early stages of the condition in about 70 per cent of the cases. Many study leaders have financial ties to gene testing companies, and some get royalties for patents on cancer detection methods. And it was better at detecting stage 2 or 3 cancers, versus stage 1, the investigators found.
Ultimately, Lichtenfeld said, the big question will be: Does this kind of testing save people's lives? He also tells that the research is able to give way to the next step of the screening test.
The company's chief executive, Atul Sharan, said US studies should start this year.