Is a 10 minute cancer blood test coming soon?

2-26-2019 cwx f
Image credit: Mark Thomas/Alamy Stock Photo

About seven years ago, researchers at the US DNA sequencing company Illumina started to notice something odd. A new blood test it ran on 125,000 expectant mothers looking for genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome in their foetuses returned some extremely unexpected signals in 10 cases. Chillingly, it dawned on them that the abnormal DNA they were seeing wasn’t from the foetuses but was, rather, undiagnosed cancer in the mothers. Cancers of different types were later confirmed in all 10.

[Illumina’s partner company] Grail is on a quest to detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms, via a single, simple blood test. The test looks at cell-free plasma to find fragments of so-called circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) sloughed off by cancer cells.

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[T]he dream being imagined by Grail and others is an inexpensive test, perhaps no more than $500, which could conceivably be given annually to those over a certain age, with a high chance of detecting many cancers at once with high accuracy (Grail hasn’t announced a final number but thinks it will be in the region of 10). It’s a test that all of us, if it works, could one day get.

Read full, original post: Could we soon be able to detect cancer in 10 minutes?

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