Doctors Call Liquid Biopsies the ‘Holy Grail’: It Could Find 10 Types of Cancer In Early Stage

In a race for detecting, treating or curing cancer, researchers keep on discovering new ways to fight the disease that kills many people around the globe.

A blood test called liquid biopsy could find 10 different types of cancer in their early stage. It could one day save millions of lives, if doctors can use it for cancer screening on patients that show no symptoms.

The test works by detecting traces of cancer cells’ DNA that is released into the bloodstream. Until now, the blood tests can detect ovarian and pancreatic cancer. When these two types of cancers are detected in the early stages, the mortality rate is significantly lower. Doctors can remove the cancer through surgery.

However, most of the patients find out they have cancer when they start showing signs. That is when cancer has already spread to other parts of the body.

The Holy Grail Of Cancer Research

Dr. Eric Klein (Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic) stated that the test could save many lives and that:

“This is potentially the holy grail of cancer research, to find cancers that are currently hard to cure at an earlier stage when they are easier to cure.”

Klein and his research team (Stanford University) have conducted a study, in which they found that the test could detect pancreatic, ovarian, liver, and gallbladder cancers. The tests found the cancers in four out of five patients who took it.

They also tested for lymphoma and myeloma, but the accuracy was lower: 77% and 73%, respectively. As for cancers of the head and neck, or lung cancer, the detection rate was only 56% and 59%.

Researchers concluded that they will need to perform more clinical development. They will need more test subjects, to increase the sample amount.

The research has only taken a first step in detecting cancer through blood tests, and it shows promise in the future of cancer screening.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere