New cancer test could save thousands of lives

  • Updated
  • 19/01/2018

A new cancer detection test may help save thousands of lives through early detection of tumours. 

Developed by researchers from John Hopkins University in the US the new test is called CancerSEEK.

The study, which involved 1,005 patients with pre-diagnosed cancer and detected their disease with an accuracy rate of approximately 70 percent.

The test works by screening blood tests for key proteins and gene mutations which indicate the presence of cancer.

Dr Cristian Tomasetti, from Johns Hopkins University, told the BBC: "This field of early detection is critical, and the results are very exciting, I think this can have an enormous impact on cancer mortality."

Some cancers, such as pancreatic, are so difficult to detect that 80 percent of people die the same year they're diagnosed. 

Finding tumours when they could still be surgically removed would be "a night and day difference" for survival, said Dr Tomasetti.

Professor Peter Gibbs worked on the research and told ABC that the test could save 7, 500 people from death annually. 

The test is currently being extended to more patients with no previous diagnoses and researchers hope to make it common practice within a few years.