Finding: Blood test can detect a cancer relapse

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A new study suggests that a blood test might be able to save lives by finding cancers that have started to grow again after treatment. The s...

A new study suggests that a blood test might be able to save lives by finding cancers that have started to grow again after treatment. The scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London have found traces of breast cancer eight months before the doctors would normally have noticed. As a result, the test could help in much early detection of these traces of deadly cancers in the body. In a trial that was conducted for the study, the researchers found 12 cancers out of 15 women who relapsed. Experts have said that there is still time before the test makes its way to the hospitals as it is in its early stage. Some more work is required in it before it is adequate to be used for patients.
Finding: Blood test can detect a cancer relapse

One of the core treatments of cancer present today is a surgery in which the tumors have to be removed from the body. As a tumor starts from a single cell, there is a possibility that it might spread to another part of the body. If this happens or the surgeon somehow forgets to remove the entire tumor from the body, the cancer just might return.

The study was published in Science Translation Medicine and follows those fifty-five patients who were at a high risk of relapse because of the size of their tumor. The researchers carefully analyzed the mutated DNA of the tumor and then continued their search for those mutations. The results showed that 15 people relapsed and the blood test that was conducted on them gave a warning about 12 of them. The remaining three patients had cancers that had spread to the brain where the protective brain-barrier may have stopped the fragments of the cancer entering the bloodstream. The test also detected cancerous DNA in one patient who had not relapsed.

Dr. Nicholas Turner told BBC,” The key question is that, are we identifying that these women are at risk of relapse early enough that we could give treatments that could prevent the relapse? That is unknown in this study and we hope to address this in future studies. We’re really talking about a principle that could potentially be applied to any cancer that has gone through initial treatment for which there is a risk for relapse in the future.” Other researchers have also agreed that the test needs some more work and since the price of cancer treatments is coming down this test could really help in eliminating it from the root through early detection.

Image Courtesy: BBC News

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Washington Account: Finding: Blood test can detect a cancer relapse
Finding: Blood test can detect a cancer relapse
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Washington Account
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