Cancer is the killer disease, where abnormal cells multiply inside the human body and invade neighbor cells, tissues causing damage and destruction. Cancer can affect any part of the human body and known to be the number one cause of death worldwide. According to the who, deaths globally will account for 13.1 million in 2030 due to cancer.
Australian scientists have developed a new blood test that can detect cancers at early stages. This new test can detect early stages of cancer affecting the lungs, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus, ovary, colon and breast. This test is the one-stop safe screening test for multiple tumors which will improve survival outcomes for many types of tumors.
The new test is named cancerSEEK, looks for the compounds in the human blood to detect early signs of cancer. This test is aimed to screen 8 types of cancer, whereas five of the cancers covered by the test has no screening test currently. This test works by evaluating 8 protein biomarkers and by detecting the presence of cancer gene mutation form circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). This test uses Artificial-Intelligence(AI) algorithm to detect the genes and protein biomarkers found in the blood sample.
Nickolas Papadopoulos, Ph.D., senior author, and professor of oncology and pathology said: “The use of a combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer, and it is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers.”
Liquid biopsies test is widely used to detect cancer from the blood sample drawn. What differentiates the cancerSEEK test from the liquid biopsies test is the use of two main indicators proteins and genes to discover cancer. This will give more accurate results over the 8 eight types of cancers. The machine-based testing will identify which type of cancer the patient is affected with. This tool would help the general physician to administer the test and send the patient for further investigations. For instance, if the cancerSEEK blood test detects stomach cancer, the doctor can send the patient for endoscopy. Thus making things easier for early detection and treatment.
For further research, the doctors conducted the test on about 1000 cancer patients, where the tumor hasn’t metastasized. The accuracy of the test was 69-98% accurate, the most advanced the cancer is the accuracy rate was also higher. But for patients with early-stage of cancer, the test accuracy was 40%. The test needs to undergo more clinical trials to confirm the specificity and sensitivity. Researchers are working to increase the accuracy of the test by including additional biomarkers.
Cancer survival rates are linked with how advanced the cancer is detected in the early stage. This requires a blood test that detects cancer early before the symptoms start showing. There is still no effective blood test to detect multiple cancer types. This new blood test will help the mankind by detecting major tumor types at an early stage.