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A simple blood sample can ever detect cancer. But there is a catch – National

One day, people may get a cancer test as easily as controlling cholesterol levels. "Liquid Biopsy" – a blood sample…

One day, people may get a cancer test as easily as controlling cholesterol levels.

“Liquid Biopsy” – a blood sample – is an active research area for cancer diagnosis. While research is still in early stages and the test is years, perhaps more than a decade, besides being available to the public, experts say it can be valuable.

“I think of early detection for cancer that is lethal and potentially curable at an early stage, this potentially will be a game replacement,” says Dr. John Lewis, of the Department of Oncology at Alberts University.

How a Liquid Biopsy Test Works

Testing by detecting changes in the bloodstream, such as fragments of mutated DNA or specific molecular changes indicating the presence of cancer. Right now, cancer can be diagnosed through tissue test biopsies, a much more invasive method.

Liquid biopsies can be used for a number of purposes, for example, to monitor whether a cancer treatment actually shrinks the tumor, to personalize treatments based on the particular gene mutation that a patient has, as well as for detection. That is what scientists hope.

For a recently published study in Nature, a Toronto-based research team could train a computer program to recognize some chemical changes in the bloodstream for early cancer patients and even identify what type of cancer the patient had from a list with some different types.


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“This opens the door, it is still in the investigation phase, but it opens the door to early cancer detection,” said co-author Daniel de Carvalho, senior researcher at Princess Margaret Cancer Center.

Another study, published in Science in early 201

8, also showed promising results for a cancer-detected blood sample that could identify eight different cancers with a median success rate of 70 percent in more than 1,000 patients.

These procedures still need to be refined, refined and tested before they make it to the mass market, “says Carvalho, and it will take years. However, he believes that identification of cancer early can make a big difference for some people.

“The earlier we identify cancer, the easier it is to treat the patient.”

For these tests, “The goal is to find It’s while the tumor is so small that you can take it out,” said Rayjean Hung, a Canadian research chair in integrative molecular epidemiology at the Sinai Health System in Toronto.


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Hung, another co-author of the Nature Study, believes that floating biopsies may be particularly useful for patients with lung, pancreas or other aggressive, growing cancers where early detection make a big difference in treatment results.

Treatment of cancer

Treatment, however, remains a major issue. What do you do if you find cancer, but can not do anything about it?

“It’s a very active discussion right now,” said Lewis.

“If we know something is it and we do not have A clear, clinical way forward is that information useful?”

In prostate cancer, for example, PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test has been criticized to lead to overdiagnosis .

“The PSA test, for example, has allowed many men to test their prostate cancer earlier, but the side effect of PSA screening has been that many men with non-aggressive indolent prostate cancer have also been diagnosed.” This test has been criticized to lead to unnecessary additional tests or even treatments for something that could never have caused a problem.

“With cancer diagnosis, there is anxiety and burden based on the diagnosis, and usually most people want to do something about it. . Often there is no clear clinical benefit or even an option to treat. “

This is less of a problem in aggressive forms of cancer like lung cancer, Hung said.” We rarely see any lung or pancreatic cancer that is sitting there. So for them, overdiagnosis becomes less of a problem. But there is a problem for the other types. “

These tests would also unlikely lead directly to a cancer diagnosis,” she said. Instead, patients would probably need to go to CT scans and other image testing tests after a positive result.


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The Carvalho hopes that because his computer program is practicing to better recognize different cancers, it will be able to know who does not lead to serious medical problems and who will identify them.

For less aggressive cancer like prostate cancer, it is important to identify which cancers will kill the patient, not if the patient has cancer, Lewis says.

“So fluid biopsy and the entire field need to be more specific than” Do I have cancer? “It will need to be specific about,” Do I have an aggressive cancer form that I need to act on? “”

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