US scientists have developed an experimental blood test, which can detect cancer early and also to identify where on the body the tumor begins to grow.
The test, if improved and clinically applied, it can help to reduce the invasive procedures such as biopsies. Researchers at the University of California-San Diego, led by Professor Zhang Kun biomechanics, made after publication in genetics journal “Nature Genetics”.
Conventional genetic blood test for cancer detect the DNA released by the tumor cells. But they are not able to give an indication of where the cancer grows in the body. But the knowledge of the tumor location is critical for the timely and effective treatment.
The new test uses a new type «DNA signature” that can both detect cancer cells in blood, and to identify their position. When a tumor begins to grow in an area of the body, compete with normal cells for nutrients and space, gradually destroying them.
As healthy cells die, they release DNA in blood and depending on the “signature” of each genetic material, can be measured by what part of the body it comes from. Each of the body tissue can be identified by a unique “signature”
“We made the discovery accidentally. Initially we followed the conventional approach and we were looking just for cancer cells signals, trying to understand where they were coming. But simultaneously we saw signals from other cells and we realized that if we unify the two groups of signals, we could actually identify the presence or absence of a tumor and where he develops, “said Zhang.
As said before the test used in clinical practice should be improved in cooperation with oncologists.