A new kind of blood test has been produced by researchers which can be screening many types of cancer.
Moreover, it has a high degree of accuracy, according to the results presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2109 Congress. The test, developed by GRAIL Inc., uses next-generation sequencing technology to probe DNA for tiny chemical tags (methylation) that influence whether genes are active or inactive.
When applied to nearly 3,600 blood samples – some from patients with cancer, some from people who had not been diagnosed with cancer at the time of the blood draw – the test successfully picked up a cancer signal from the cancer patient samples, and correctly identified the tissue from where cancer began (the tissue of origin).
The test’s specificity – its ability to return a positive result only when cancer is present – was high, as was its ability to pinpoint the organ or tissue of origin, researchers found.