New Blood Test May Be Able To Detect Cancer

Researchers at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore have announced that they are close to developing a new blood test that could detect common cancer forms.

The new test, called  CancerSEEK ,  would cost about $500 and be able to identify early forms of cancer cells in the body. According to the scientists, the test concentrates on the most frequent types of cancers including lung, breast, colon,  and stomach cancer.

After testing about  1000 people diagnosed with these cancer forms the new blood test found signs of cancer in 70% of them. Tumours release tiny amounts of altered DNA into the bloodstream. The test looks for mutations in 16 genes that frequently come up in cancer.

Although the first tests have had promising results there are still problems that have to be dealt with. There is still a high rate of false alarms, where cancer is shown in patients who are not diagnosed with any disease. Another problem is that the test sometimes shows signs of cancer but cannot pinpoint where exactly in the body they appear.

Doctors state that the new blood test could be a major breakthrough for cancer patients and can extend their lives. The earlier a cancer is found and located the better the chances are for it to be treated.

The ultimate goal is to find cancer at early stages of the illness, at a time when patients can be treated successfully. In some forms of cancer, for example, pancreatic cancer, symptoms show up in the late stages of the illness. As a result, four out of five patients die shortly after it has been diagnosed

 

New blood testing could detect cancer at an early stage
New blood testing could detect cancer at an early stage – Image: GrahamColm

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • altered = changed
  • although = while
  • announce = to say officially, in public
  • bloodstream =the blood flowing through your body
  • breakthrough = an important new discovery, especially after having done experiments for a long time
  • cancer = serious illness in which cells in parts of the body grow in an uncontrolled way
  • colon = lower part of your stomach in which food is changed into waste matter that leaves your body
  • common = something that happens very often
  • concentrate on = focus on
  • deal with = to take action to solve a problem
  • detect = find something that is very difficult to see
  • develop = to make or do something new
  • diagnose = to find out what illness a person  has by doing medical tests
  • disease = illness
  • DNA = substance that carries genetic information in the cells of the body
  • extend = lengthen, make longer
  • frequent = often
  • gene = part of a cell in a living thing that controls what it looks like, how it grows
  • goal= something you hope to achieve or finish in the future
  • high rate = very many
  • identify = to recognise and name something correctly
  • including = also
  • major = very important
  • mutation = a change in the structure of something
  • pinpoint = to show the exact position of something
  • promising = to show signs of being successful
  • release = set free
  • researcher = person who studies a subject in order to find out more about it
  • scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
  • stage = phase, period
  • state = to say that something is true
  • successful = to complete what you have wanted to
  • tiny = very small
  • treat = to try to cure a disease and make someone healthy again
  • tumour = mass of bad cells in your body that have divided and grow very quickly
  • ultimate = final; in the end