CancerSEEK to detect cancer with a blood test

Scientists in the US have developed a universal blood test capable of detecting eight different types of cancer.

The aim of the test, CancerSEEK, is to catch the disease early and save lives.

Scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore analysed more than 1,000 cancer patients who had shown symptoms of cancer, to see whether this new test would accurately confirm the diagnosis. They discovered that for certain tumours, the CancerSEEK test was up to 98% accurate.

As a tumour grows, cancerous cells within it change, reproduce and die. When cancer cells die, they can also release DNA and other fragments that get into blood. CancerSEEK is described as a ‘liquid biopsy’ and analyses a patient’s blood sample for traces of that cancer DNA and through identifying which genes and mutations are most active, it can identify the type of cancer and the best treatment.

While experts around the world are praising the test as an exciting development, they say more research needs to be done.

Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan reports from London, UK.