Very soon, cancer will remain a painful memory associated with a troubled past. A team of medical researchers working for Illumina has discovered that a blood test can show early signs of cancer.
In the battle against cancer, one could say that we tried nearly every trick in the book: state-of-the-art chemotherapies, novel radiation therapies and we even begun to retrofit viruses in order to facilitate therapies.
Most of them yielded good results, but this development will certainly improve the odds of patients coming down with this affection.
According to Illumina, this new method of cancer detection called Grail can identify if a patient can develop the disease, even if the symptoms have yet to resurface.
This new concept of identifying cancerous outgrowths in its early stages is the brainchild of Illumina, a gene research company in the United States of America. Recently, the company received a research grant of 100 million dollars from Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates in order to continue the fight against cancer.
According to its maker, the technique used to identify cancer might soon become so accurate, that it will be capable of identifying any form of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer or colorectal cancer.
In all appearance, the method is pretty straightforward: the process only takes a little only, and the lab needs only a small blood sample in order to identify his or hers potential of developing cancer.
Despite its simplicity, behind the scene, the technique involves a couple highly advanced gene sequencing techniques. In order to test someone for cancer risks, the doctors will use a novel technique called a liquid biopsy.
Through this technique, the doctors will be able to spot off the fragments of DNA which give off a specific cancer-related signature.
A US-based company has proved that a blood test can show early signs of cancer. The similar researcher is being conducted by the Leicester University in the UK.
Identifying cancer and treating it are two separate things indeed. According to Grail, the technique has the potential of detecting the early signs of cancer and to nip it in the bud. But, as medical literature teaches us, there are some forms of cancer that are not life-threatening.
And the treatment itself, if administered for the wrong type of cancer can be as harmful as a potentially malignant tumor. But professor Flatley, scientists working on the project, said that he and his team can cut down on the error percentage and make the technique very accurate.
Thus, Flatley and his team of scientists are planning on sequencing the DNA strand of over 50.000 people and track the evolution of their cancers.
If a blood test can show the early signs of cancer, then we are not far from developing a fully-functional cure against this harrowing disease.