Blood test shows promise for spotting early cancers

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Blood test shows promise for spotting early cancers

A blood test is being investigated for use in diagnosing cancer.

The elusive dream is that a simple blood test could detect a small tumor growing in your body, giving doctors time to cure you before it’s too late. Today, scientists at GRAIL, a biotechnology company based in Menlo Park, California, that has drawn more than a billion dollars in investment, announced progress toward that goal here at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Using full-genome sequencing to analyze DNA shed into the blood by dying tumor cells, the widely watched company saw evidence of cancer in 65% of a group of patients already known to have early disease.

The results are similar to those published recently by other research teams. Together, they show that there is “tremendous promise” for finding cancer early using these assays, known as liquid biopsies, says cancer researcher Daniel Haber of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who was not involved with the work.

Although several companies and academic labs are working on this new form of cancer detection, GRAIL has drawn attention for the huge amount of money it has raised, the many scientific heavyweights who sit on its advisory board, and its plan to use pricey whole-genome sequencing, which analyzes all 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, to develop a cancer test.

Source: Blood test shows promise for spotting early cancers | Science | AAAS

Read on: Blood test shows promise for spotting early cancers | Science | AAAS

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