Low cost blood test to detect and assess the efficacy of cancer treatment.
Cambridge research institute developed a method that’s capable of detecting the most common forms of cancerous cells without surgery or biopsy, making it safer and cheaper.
This innovative method is a simple blood test that could identify defective fragment of DNA shed into the bloodstream by cancer cells as they die.
The test is being dubbed as a 'liquid biopsy', and it can follow up on the progress of the tumor and its response to the treatment.
Tim Forshaw one of the researchers at Cambridge research institute explains that many sensitive tests have been developed to look for one or just a few changes in genes that cause cancer, but what we have been able to do is screen for many of the potential changes, which would not be possible previously.
In fact, researchers sequenced 20,000 possible mutations in six cancer-related genes, a technique to read genetic code, to look for genetic faults in the bloodstream and are not picked up by current screening methods.
This is the first time entire genes have been analyzed from a blood samples given by 20 women with ovarian cancer.
Doctor Mohamed Murtaza a leading researcher at the cancer institute said: this type of blood test has the potential to revolutionize the way cancer diagnosed and treated, adding: as more genetic faults are discovered in different type of cancer, more treatment will be developed to address them. Once we have a catalogue of such faults we could actually screen patients for them just by this simple blood test and potentially address them with one of many drugs.
This low cost blood test could play a major role in fighting cancer and in the near future patients could be given treatments based on the results of this quick blood test rather than having a tissue sample surgically removed for analysis.