June 19, 2019 – Screening Precision


Anchor lead: A blood test for cancer may also be able to isolate the location, Elizabeth Tracey reports 

Looking at patterns of DNA fragments in the blood, Johns Hopkins researcher Victor Velculescu and colleagues have developed a new screening test for cancer. Among its many advantages, this blood test may also spot where the cancer is developing in the body.

Velculescu: We’ll be able to better tell you based on this profile where the tumor is coming from. It’s important to note that if you were to do this just by chance and draw a number out of a hat, the chance of getting the right answer and placing it in the right tumor type is only about 13-15% of the time. So this is a vast improvement over what we already had and does add this value to potentially telling individuals where the cancer is coming from, which is an important part I think of any cancer screening test that goes across multiple cancer types. :31

Velculescu says this test does not rely on the presence of mutations but rather detects a property of all cancers to produce chaotic DNA fragments. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.