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article imageCan a blood test detect cancer?

By Tim Sandle     Jan 14, 2014 in Science
Scientists now think it is possible that a simple blood test could be developed to determine whether gene mutations associated with pancreatic cancer exist without the need of locating and testing tumor tissue.
At present, there is no single blood test that can screen for all cancer related DNA defects. This could be about to change.
Researchers are of the view that a simple blood test could detect cancer early following the discovery that tiny particles the size of viruses called "exosomes," which are shed by cancer cells into the blood, contain the entire genetic blueprint of cancer cells. Scientists have shown that by decoding this genetic information and looking for mutations associated with cancer, this discovery could be translated into a test that helps physicians detect cancer and treat patients.
Because different forms of cancer are associated with different chromosomal mutations , the science team think that analysis of exosome DNA taken from blood samples may not only help determine the presence of a cancerous tumor somewhere in the body but also identify mutations without a need for tumor sample. This would move cancer screening and diagnosis significantly forwards.
The research was undertaken at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The findings have been reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The research paper is headed “Identification of Double Stranded Genomic DNA Spanning all Chromosomes with Mutated KRAS and p53 DNA in the Serum Exosomes of Patients with Pancreatic Cancer.”
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