Tracking Cancer DNA


Anchor lead: Can we
find out where a cancer is growing using a blood test? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Using machine learning and analysis of mutations in DNA
circulating in the blood of patients with cancer, a new study demonstrates the
technique correctly identified where the cancer was growing about
three-quarters of the time. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer
Center at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Nelson: I’m not surprised that this type of tactic might
work. There are other strategies about to ascertain whether DNA is from certain
tissues of origin. I suspect in the end there’ll be ways to catalog defective
genes in cancers and get a sense for where the DNA is from, what type of cancer
it’s from.  This will be one of them
perhaps. Are we looking at the beginning of an era where we won’t be sticking
needles into people so much to make diagnoses? This could be the beginning of
something like that.  :30

Nelson says such an approach might be one day used for
cancer screening. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.