Breakthrough Blood Test Detects 8 Different Types of Cancer?

Breakthrough Blood Test Detects 8 Different Types of Cancer?


More than 1.6 million Americans will hear the words you have cancer this year. But now scientists say they found a way to detect cancer even earlier with a simple blood test. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore call the test CancerSEEK. Report it can detect and track eight different types of cancer. We’re now joined by oncologist Dr.Lawrence Piro via Polycom to discuss that this new blood test is hope or hype. Dr.Piro great having you on. Hello Lawrence. Hi there. Good to see you again. (applauding) Hey buddy. Nice to see you. We’ve obviously taught our viewers if nothing else that early detection is key to treating cancer. What say you with these new tests and how early they may be able to detect cancer? Travis, I’m really excited about this particular test because it does something different than others. So, it takes advantage of the fact that cancer cells when they’re growing some grow and some are dying. And the ones that die shed DNA into the bloodstream. So this is a blood test that’s measuring 16 different cancer causing genes in DNA that would be shred from tumors. Now what’s different from this test than other genetic tests of this type is they combined it also with eight cancer associated proteins, bio markers for cancer and between the two they have developed an algorithm that predicts for the presence of cancer. And someone who has no symptoms of cancer and doesn’t know they have it, hopefully therefore detecting it early. So, in the study of over a thousand people this test predicted the presence of cancer in 70% of cases which I think we’d all agree is a very substantial detection rate. I mean, we couldn’t agree with you more. I mean, this is really exciting stuff. How soon is it gonna be actually put into use? Well this is quite a ways off because a test of over 10,000 people is going to be required. You see this kind of test, which actually had a very low positive, false positive rate. It was less than 10%. The false positive rate may increase as the size of the testing is expanded and the efficacy rate, the ability to predict cancer may go down, especially when you’re testing in completely sort of normal people that may have other diseases. So for example, a test person who doesn’t have cancer but might have rheumatoid arthritis these inflammatory proteins could be high from rheumatoid arthritis and conflict with other findings. But that being said I feel that the results are so positive that they will hold up in the larger test. It may be slightly less good numbers but they’ll still be a huge step forward over what we have available today. With this test when comparing the different types of cancer we’re they able to detect some more accurately than others, like ovarian cancer verses breast cancer? Yeah. There was a big difference in why it spread in numbers from ovarian cancer at 98% of cases to breast cancer at 33% of cases. And many of the cases like long and colorectal were in the 60% range. Now this may be because some tumors have a higher propensity for shedding DNA and, or these cancer associated protein. So it may simply be a reflection of the biology of different kinds of tumors. So it sounds like there’s a lot of hope. For me personally one of the frustrations with cancer screening has been we have a lot of tools for certain types of cancer. We talk about go and get your colonoscopy for colon cancer. But when you talk about cancers like pancreatic cancer, which is just such a devastating diagnosis, so deadly. There are many cancers out there still where treatment if not caught early the consequences are dire. I think the hope here for me is that certain cancers that are really really really hard to diagnosis maybe someday in the future we’ll be able to get these people help sooner. Is that really as an oncologist is that your big hope with this? I think that’s exactly right on Travis. That in five of the eight cancers that were done in this test there is no presently available early detection test for five of the eight. So your point is exactly correct that not only are we helping people in general but we’re gonna help people who otherwise we would’ve completely missed their cancer until it’s too late. Well Dr.Piro we certainly appreciate you weighing in on what clearly your scene is. (applauding) Thank you. Very much hope over hype and we’ll certainly keep people abreast because we know the headlines are out there.