Monday, January 3, 2011

"Liquid Biopsy" Fights Cancer!

Cancer detection included, in your next routine blood panel tests?

Can it be possible? No more invasive tests? No cutting, no flushing, no probing, no imaging?

Well, it's no dream or wishful thinking. A blood test for cancer is not only possible, but it may become a widespread reality for patients everywhere, very soon.

Scientists in Boston have developed the new test, and the war on cancer may never be the same.

The giant corporation Johnson & Johnson is going to fund the development of the non-invasive test for the mass market--- a blood test that can detect one cancer cell among a billion healthy cells!

This year, studies involving the test will be conducted at 4 top cancer centers.

Here is how it works. When cancer spreads--- especially breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer--- cancer cells travel in the blood pathways and pioneer new cancer sites. That's when they can be detected in the new test.

Many cancer victims are diagnosed by biopsies, cutting, imaging, etc. Such samples are relatively poor indicators of the cancer genes and pathways. Critical time elapses while specialists are chosen and treatments decided upon.

So, it's a race with the growth of the cancer, to fight it back and help the patient survive. Its a test involving critical time. Tragically, many patients die waiting to find out how their treatment is working, or not working.

CellSearch, a test by J&J's Veridex unit, does give a tumor cell count in the blood, but only the number, and no analysis of the cells type.

With the new test, not only can the cancer cells be found, but their presence can be monitored as cancer treatment is given, to determine which treatment works best for each patient.

Daniel Haber, (chief of Massachusetts General Hospital's cancer center), is one of the test's inventors, who labeled the test "a liquid biopsy".

This is no hypothetical possibility. It represents real hope for cancer treatment, and has caught fire in the medical community.

Mass General, Sloan-Kettering, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, will all initiate the test this year.

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