This groundbreaking new research could save many lives, scientists believe.
A new blood test could save countless lives as scientists discover a way to spot cancers that are starting to grow back with a blood test.
Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research, which is located in London, were able to spot traces of breast cancer eight months before doctors typically notice, according to a BBC report.
In a trial, researchers were able to spot 12 cancers in 15 cases of women who had cancer relapses.
The process isn’t quite ready for standard medical use, but it’s a big breakthrough that could have big implications for the medical community. It is a blood test that could eventually be used in hospitals as a matter of routine.
Tumors are commonly treated with surgery to remove them, and they grow from a single cancerous cell. Sometimes, a surgeon removes the tumor but doesn’t get all the cancer cells, allowing it to return.
About 55 patients who were at high risk of relapse because of a tumor’s size were followed for this study, which was published in Science Translational Medicine. The research team analyzed mutated DNA in the tumor, and then searched the blood for similar mutations. A total of 15 of these patients eventually relapsed, and the blood test allowed scientists to spot 12 of them. In the other three cases, the cancers had spread to the brain, where it is possible a blood-brain barrier kept fragments of the cancer from getting into the blood.
The blood test did lead to one false positive for a patient who did not relapse.
The women in the study weren’t told about cancerous material being detected, as the researchers believed it would be unethical as the process had not been proven yet.
However, it does give hope in the future that scientists will have a new tool in fighting cancer and predicting relapses ahead of time.