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Cancerseek: One Blood Test, Eight Different Cancers

Dr. Shazia Riaz

2 min read

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There are over 100 different types of cancers, and more than half currently lack specific screening tests. This is particularly worrisome because cancer remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with global death tolls predicted to rise from 8 million to 13 million by 2030.

Rather than a cure, oncologists say that early detection is key to preventing this apocalyptic prediction, and CancerSEEK is one such revolutionary breakthrough.

Liquid Biopsies and Their Shortcomings:

A Tumor Marker test works to detect cancers by identifying mutated DNA and protein particles (biomarkers) made and released by tumor cells into the bloodstream. Conversely, Circulating Tumor Cell tests (ctDNA) trace cells that have broken away from the original tumor into the bloodstream.

Despite their high predictive capability, these tests are rarely ever used for routine diagnosis. This is mostly due to the fact that some normal cells also produce tumor markers, making it difficult to identify the mutated DNA and proteins from normal ones, or if a cancerous growth is even present.

How CancerSEEK Does It Differently:

CancerSEEK minimizes the uncertainty of liquid biopsies by employing an artificial intelligence algorithm. This algorithm analyzes gene and protein biomarkers in a blood sample to not only distinguish between normal and mutated markers, but also identify cancer type and location; especially since most early-stage tumors do not release detectable amounts of ctDNA.

The test analyzes and combines 2,001 known genetic mutations and 8 protein markers to best locate the defective gene.

Which Cancers Does It Diagnose?

In preliminary studies, CancerSEEK has successfully identified 8 cancer types:

  • Breast
  • Lung
  • Colorectal
  • Ovarian
  • Liver
  • Stomach
  • Esophageal
  • Pancreatic

The first 3 types already have specialized tests, but are often diagnosed during later stages, while the remaining 5 currently do not possess routine testing measures.

Success by Numbers:

The study was conducted by researchers from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA. 1,005 individuals with pre-diagnosed non-metastatic cancer were tested against 812 healthy individuals.

The test was able to detect cancer in 99% of the patients. Breast cancer was detected in 33%, and ovarian cancer in 98%, with overall sensitivity (number of cases diagnosed) ranging between 69-98% for the currently nonscreen-able 5 cancers.

The test also successfully proved the absence of cancer in 805 of the healthy volunteers, with only 7 testing false positive.

In terms of stage-wise sensitivity, 78% of the detected cancers were Stage III, 73% for Stage II,and 43% for Stage I. The test was also able to pinpoint exact tumor location in 83% of the  diagnosed individuals.

Hope for The Future:

Stage I cancers were among the lowest detected, which somewhat defeats the early detection purpose of CancerSEEK. However, largely successful results in the other above-mentioned categories invites hopes of an accurate, all-inclusive diagnostic test that may soon be incorporated into regular testing regimes in a few short years.

Large-scale studies with thousands of volunteers are now underway to test the real-world application and accuracy of this blood test, and researchers are hopeful of positive results.

While the aim is to detect a cancer early enough to require only surgical treatment for complete recovery, even cancers that have been diagnosed with slight delays will be easily cured through surgery and other systemic therapies with CancerSEEK.

Moreover, general physicians will be able to utilize this test as a preliminary measure to detect cancer presence, then refer to specialists for confirmation in a large majority of cases.

With new research and breakthroughs, cancer detection and treatment are better than ever before. However, personal awareness and regular once-yearly examinations remain the base standard for cancer detection.

Consult with your doctor if you suspect a possible cancer, or book an appointment with a top Oncologist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your cancer-related concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Shazia Riaz - Author Dr. Shazia Riaz is among the Best Pediatric Hematologists in Lahore. Dr. Shazia Riaz is a Pediatric Hematologist practicing in Lahore. She treats medical conditions like cancer, brain tumor, leukemia, and others. You can book an appointment with Dr. Shazia Riaz through oladoc.com.
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