Revolutionary New Blood Test (CancerSEEK) Detects & Localizes Eight Different Cancers, Including Pancreatic; Approach Involves Liquid Biopsy and Use of Machine Learning, Legendary Bert Vogelstein Among Reporting Hopkins Scientists

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers have developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer. The test, called CancerSEEK, is a unique noninvasive, multi-analyte test that simultaneously evaluates levels of eight cancer proteins and the presence of cancer gene mutations from circulating DNA in the blood. The test is aimed at screening for eight common cancer types that account for more than 60 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S. Five of the cancers covered by the test currently have no screening test. “The use of a combination of selected biomarkers for early detection has the potential to change the way we screen for cancer, and it is based on the same rationale for using combinations of drugs to treat cancers,” says Nickolas Papadopoulos, PhD, senior author and professor of oncology and pathology. The findings were published online by Science on January 18, 2018. The article is titled “Detection and Localization of Surgically Resectable Cancers with a Multi-Analyte Blood Test” “Circulating tumor DNA mutations can be highly specific markers for cancer. To capitalize on this inherent specificity, we sought to develop a small, yet robust, panel that could detect at least one mutation in the vast majority of cancers,” says Joshua Cohen, an MD, PhD student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper’s first author. “In fact, keeping the mutation panel small is essential to minimize false-positive results and keep such screening tests affordable.” The investigators initially explored several hundred genes and 40 protein markers, whittling the number down to segments of 16 genes and 8 proteins.
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