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New Blood Test Identifies Tumor Development In High-Risk Families

Canadian researchers develop blood test to detect tumors early in high-risk families

A new blood test is able to detect tumors early in families with a history of cancer.

Canadian researchers analyzed fragments of DNA released into the blood by cancerous cells to develop a blood test that identifies tumor development in the body and detects cancer earlier in individuals with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome.

Li-Fraumeni syndrome is an inherited condition associated with a very high risk of developing cancer – often tumors affecting the breast, soft tissue, brain and other organs. It is caused by changes in the TP53 gene.

Luana Locke was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25 and later discovered that her mother, children and many members of her extended family also carried the same TP53 genetic change.

Canadian researchers analyzed fragments of DNA released into the blood by cancerous cells to develop a blood test that identifies tumor development in the body and detects cancer earlier in individuals with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. PHOTO BY LOUIS REED/UNSPLASH 

Miss Locke said: “Even though I have LFS, I never really felt cancer anxiety until after I was diagnosed. While my check-ups are reassuring, getting more precise diagnoses earlier is the next level in care.”

The research, published in the journal Cancer Discovery, involved the analysis of 170 blood samples from 82 individuals with Li-Fraumeni syndrome collected over several years, as well as 30 blood samples from individuals without Li-Fraumeni syndrome,

Testing blood samples for signs of cancer – often called liquid biopsies – is a more attractive screening approach compared to imaging methods, which require specialized machines, and biopsies, which are more invasive.

Dr. David Malkin, of The Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, said: “Until now, we really didn’t have good ways of doing surveillance in children with cancer or in children with cancer predisposition.

“Now, we can use a simple blood test to identify when, where and if a cancer is occurring. That is precision.

“These promising findings can be extended to all hereditary cancer syndromes to help improve the accuracy of cancer detection, especially for common tumor types, utilizing several analysis types that leverage different biological measurements.”

The team will conduct a clinical trial to further test this approach and screen patients in the hope of finding their cancer earlier.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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