Sciency stuff-Breakthrough in cancer detection?

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  • Could we soon be able to detect cancer in 10 minutes?

    About seven years ago, researchers at the US DNA sequencing company Illumina started to notice something odd. A new blood test it ran on 125,000 expectant mothers looking for genetic abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome in their foetuses returned some extremely unexpected signals in 10 cases. Chillingly, it dawned on them that the abnormal DNA they were seeing wasn’t from the foetuses but was, rather, undiagnosed cancer in the mothers. Cancers of different types were later confirmed in all 10. “This was not a test developed for cancer screening,” says Alex Aravanis, then Illumina’s senior R&D director. “But it was evidence that it might be possible.”

    In 2016, Illumina created Silicon Valley-based spin-off company Grail, with Aravanis as chief scientific officer. Backed by more than $1.5bn in funding, including money from Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Grail is on a quest to detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms, via a single, simple blood test. The test looks at cell-free plasma to find fragments of so-called circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) sloughed off by cancer cells.

    Detecting cancer sooner – before symptoms – means you can intervene earlier and people are less likely to die. While doctors can screen for breast, colon and lung cancer, most varieties of the disease can only be detected after symptoms appear. And though it is far from the only approach, the beauty of blood is that it is minimally invasive to collect. “A relatively simple blood-based test that can screen for evidence of cancer… might improve or even replace some screening programmes over time,” says Jacqui Shaw, professor of translational cancer genetics at the University of Leicester, who studies ctDNA.

    More at link.

    This could be a game changer, too (thinking of the other thread about a cure). This isn't a "cure" but everybody knows that early detection is often the key to survival or not.
    sutz
    USMC 1970-77
     
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    Location: Kent, WA


  • Fantastic. It sure seems we are getting closer and closer to stopping cancer from being so fatal. Good stuff, thanks for sharing Steve.
    Aros
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  • I'm a cancer survivor myself, so stuff like this is always interesting to me.
    sutz
    USMC 1970-77
     
    Posts: 16843
    Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:41 am
    Location: Kent, WA


  • sutz wrote:I'm a cancer survivor myself, so stuff like this is always interesting to me.


    I didn't know that about you (or managed to miss it all this time). I'm glad you made it. No wonder you're always on top of these stories!
    MontanaHawk05
    * 17Power Blogger *
     
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  • MontanaHawk05 wrote:
    sutz wrote:I'm a cancer survivor myself, so stuff like this is always interesting to me.


    I didn't know that about you (or managed to miss it all this time). I'm glad you made it. No wonder you're always on top of these stories!

    Well, it turned out to me pretty minor, but still scary. Bit of melanoma from the California sun.
    sutz
    USMC 1970-77
     
    Posts: 16843
    Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:41 am
    Location: Kent, WA




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