Revolutionizing the fight against cancer

(University of California San Diego) There’s a new tool that could revolutionize the fight against cancer. Researchers at UC San Diego have discovered that a blood test could detect the disease in its early stages.

Bioengineers at UC San Diego discovered this blood test by accident. The author of the study that was just released says the blood test can detect cancer and where a tumor is growing in the body. It’s a discovery that could change how quickly doctors can make a cancer diagnosis.

In a bioengineering lab at UC San Diego, what’s being called the holy grail of early cancer detection might have been discovered.

“I think the potential is enormous,” says Kun Zhang, PhD, UCSD Bioengineering Professor.

Researchers looked at the blood of cancer patients and found out that not only could they detect cancer, they could also locate where the tumor is growing in the body. The hope is the blood test can be used to cut out invasive procedures such as biopsies. Since the disease will be discovered so early, it will eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiation.

“Many of these therapies cannot completely cure cancer,” adds Zhang,  “They can manage the disease for a certain period of time, and then you relapse, and it goes beyond your control.”

Early detection can also help patients with fast growing cancers such as lung and colon, which are usually diagnosed when it’s too late.

“If there’s a way to detect there cancers early on when they are highly localized, then maybe a surgical procedure can completely get rid of these cancer cells,” says the bioengineering professor.

Zhang says the blood test wouldn’t be available to the public for a few more years. The next step is a large clinical study and then it would have to be approved by the FDA. .

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