Can we detect cancer very early by looking at blood proteins? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Finding cancer early so it can be treated before it spreads is optimal, and now a new study looking at blood proteins finds that examining a panel of them is both sensitive and specific. Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson explains.

Nelson: They took a cohort of blood specimens they had from 440 folks and people of both genders. They had 22 each from 18 different solid organ cancers diagnosed at an early stage. They had I think 22 each from each gender of people without a cancer diagnosis. They tried to detect proteins using antibodies to the proteins. They link nucleic acids basically to the antibodies and so when they bind you can use these amplification strategies.   :27

Nelson says sex-specific panels are necessary because there are cancers that are specific for men or women. He notes that other factors too should be accounted for, such as whether someone has an autoimmune condition or a recent infection, since a whole range of blood proteins may be present under these circumstances. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.