A new method of diagnosing cancer is being developed by leading international researchers from the U.S. and other countries. The research is led by the distinguished Greek scientist, Nicholas Papadopoulos. Researchers are testing a non-invasive test, which checks the blood for signs of any tumor in DNA.
Nicholas Papadopoulos from the School of Medicine at John Hopkins University in Baltimore and his team found that most tumors, even those that have not metastasized elsewhere in the body, release some of their genetic material in the bloodstream of the patient, at levels that may be detectable with specialized tests.
The study published in the medical journal “Science Translational Medicine” shows that tumor DNA (ctDNA) circulates in the blood and can be a reliable biomarker for several types of cancer.
Furthermore, according to researchers, it is possible that in the future we will be able to diagnose various types of cancer in their early stages, through a simple blood test, thus increasing the patients’ chance at a full recovery.
The advantage of such a test as compared to biopsy is that it is not at all invasive. The discovery of non-invasive methods for the diagnosis and monitoring of tumors has presented a real challenge for oncologists.
The researchers analyzed samples of ctDNA in 640 patients with various types of cancers. In the end they were able to detect tumor genetic material in the bloodstream of 75% of patients with advanced pancreatic, ovarian, colon, bladder, esophagus, breast, liver and skin cancer. However, they were able to detect the tumor in less than 50% of patients with brain, kidney, prostate and thyroid cancer.