Blood Test Technique Spots Cancer a Year Early

London- Doctors have spotted cancer coming back up to a year before normal scans in an “exciting” discovery.

The UK team was able to scour the blood for signs of cancer while it was just a tiny cluster of cells invisible to X-ray or CT scans.

It should allow doctors to hit the tumor earlier and increase the chances of a cure.

They also have new ideas for drugs after finding how unstable DNA fuels rampant cancer development.

The research project was on lung cancer, but the processes studied are so fundamental that they should apply across all cancer types.

In the trial, funded by Cancer Research UK, samples were taken from the lung tumors when it was removed during surgery.

A team at the Francis Crick Institute, in London, then analyzed the tumor’s defective DNA to build up a genetic fingerprint of each patient’s cancer.

Then blood tests were taken every three months after the surgery to see if tiny traces of cancer DNA re-emerged.

The results, outlined in the journal Nature, showed cancer recurrence could be detected up to a year before any other method available to medicine.

The tumors are thought to have a volume of just 0.3 cubic millimeters when the blood test catches them.

Dr. Christopher Abbosh, from the UCL Cancer Institute, said: “We can identify patients to treat even if they have no clinical signs of disease, and also monitor how well therapies are working.

“This represents new hope for combating lung cancer relapse following surgery, which occurs in up to half of all patients.” In theory, it should be easier to kill the cancer while it is still tiny rather than after it has grown and become visible again.

Source: Qatar News Agency