October 22, 2015 – Bad Actors


Anchor lead:  Is there a way to determine which tumors are likely to progress, and to be able to do that with a blood sample?  Elizabeth Tracey reports

Finding cancer at its very earliest stages is a Holy Grail of sorts, offering hope of intervention before tumors gain the high ground.  Now a study by Mariana Brait and colleagues at Johns Hopkins has demonstrated the ability to detect changes in so-called premalignant lesions and find those also in a blood sample.

Brait: We found that premalignant lesions share some of the alterations that the tumor has and we found that we can detect circulating alterations present in the premalignant lesions not only in the tumors.  :17

Brait says finding these alterations in blood is especially important.

Brait: We would be able to detect alterations we would not be able to detect just by doing a single biopsy, and we could distinguish the lesions that would progress from the ones that would not progress.  :14

Brait hopes additional research will bring the possibility of a blood test for some cancers to fruition.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.