Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Blood Test Detects More Than 50 Types of Cancer

Science

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.


Researchers say the method — which can spot cancerous mutations before symptoms even appear — could spot particularly dangerous tumors that would otherwise go unnoticed.

The test looks for tell-tale changes to the DNA of dead cancer cells that leak into the blood as diseased tissues break down.

In their findings, reported in the Annals of Oncology, experts said the procedure was best suited to detecting cancers at a later stage of development. However, the authors said further work could result in testing that would diagnose cancers at a far earlier stage than they would be otherwise.

The test, developed by the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute and the Mayo Clinic, looks for molecules known as methyl groups that cause mutations in otherwise healthy cells, making them cancerous. It marks a change from more traditional methods that involve the sequencing of DNA.

"Our previous work indicated that methylation-based tests outperform traditional DNA-sequencing approaches to detecting multiple forms of cancer in blood samples," said Dana-Farber's Geoffrey Oxnard, a co-author of the study.

"The results of this study suggest that such assays could be a feasible way of screening people for a wide variety of cancers."

The research involved taking samples from almost 7,000 participants. In 96% of the tests, the samples correctly identified the tissue that the cancer had come from.

"Our results show that this approach to testing cell-free DNA in blood can detect a broad range of cancer types at virtually any stage of the disease, with specificity and sensitivity approaching the level needed for population-level screening," Oxnard said. "The test can be an important part of clinical trials for early cancer detection."

However, the experts said further work was needed. At present, they said, the possibility of tests not picking up cancers at their earlier stages — providing false reassurance — was too high.

Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less
The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Bystanders watch the MV Wakashio bulk carrier from which oil is leaking near Blue Bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius, on August 6, 2020. Photo by Dev Ramkhelawon / L'Express Maurice / AFP / Getty Images

The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, renowned for its coral reefs, is facing an unprecedented ecological catastrophe after a tanker ran aground offshore and began leaking oil.

Read More Show Less