Blood Test Detects Cancers Before Tumours Form

The success of cancer treatment is often dependent on early detection, and encouraging news is on the horizon following the successful outcome of a recent blood test trial on cancer patients.  The first pan-cancer blood test that promises to predict tumours more than a year before they begin to show is now being used in hospitals across the United Kingdom for further proof of concept, according to a recent New York Post report. 

The first test was first developed in 2021 by Epigeneres Biotech – and an updated report of the clinical trial was published this month in the journal Stem Cells.  The blood test can detect specific cancers, and their location before any tumour has formed.  The trial included 1,000 participants – 500 non-cancer, and 500 cancer patients.  Researchers could accurately predict the formation of tumours in at least 25 types of cancer including breast, pancreatic, lung and colorectal.  There was not a single false positive in the group. 

Early detection through a single blood test is anticipated to save many lives.  The new technique focuses on stem cells with a cancer biomarker, rather than looking for existing tumour cells.  This approach allows scientists to screen for future cancers before cells have begun to form a tumour – up to 18 months ahead of stages 1 or 2 of cancer development, allowing targeted treatment to be delivered before the formation of tumours.  

For those already diagnosed with cancer, the new blood test will be able to show exactly which organ(s) the potential tumour cells will target, avoiding invasive tissue biopsies and hastening targeted treatment.  Traditional biopsies can speed up the activities of a tumour but this new approach could be a game-changer in catching cancer early and targeting treatment when it will be most effective as a cure.   Researchers hope to bring the new technique to the United States in the near future.