The researchers studied blood samples from more than 200 cancer patients which had various diagnoses and prognoses and they were able to determine not only the presence of cancerous cells, but also which type of the cancer they had and if it had metastasised to other parts of the body. Across 6 different tumor types (pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, glioblastoma, breast cancer, hepatobiliary cancer and non-small cell lung carcinoma), the origin of the primary tumor was properly identified with 71% accuracy. The platelet profiles can also help determine what type of therapy would be the best and re-analysing blood with this test at different times they can see if the treatment is effective or not.
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Although this it is still in an early experimental phase, Tom’s team is currently working on a fast, cheap and usable blood test for public use, that is expected to be available by the year 2020. This newly developed test has been tested on most common types of cancer and the technique provides an innovative combination of powerful computer algorithms in the diagnosis of the cancer through a single drop of blood.
Research has been published in the journal Cancer Cell with the title: “RNA-Seq of Tumor-Educated Platelets Enables Blood-Based Pan-Cancer, Multiclass, and Molecular Pathway Cancer Diagnostics”.