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Scientists Create 'Game-Changer' Cancer Test

Updated: Jan 27

A simple blood test that can identify 18 early-stage cancers will be a medical “game-changer”, scientists said this week.

Blood plasma

A new generation of cancer tests could screen for early-stage tumours from all major organs, researchers have announced. For years, scientists have been trying to develop tests to pick up early signs of cancer before symptoms develop and to improve prognosis, but have previously had limited success.

However, a new technique developed by a US company has been created which looks for proteins in the blood linked to 18 different cancers from all major organs, including the bladder, prostate, brain, liver, lungs and pancreas.

In the study, published in the journal BMJ Oncology, the new test identified 93 percent of stage one cancers in men and 84 percent in women. The trial was run by the test’s maker, Novelna, which said it represents a “major leap in cancer screening”. However, with just 440 people taking part in the trial, more research is needed - but it's positive progress.

The researchers said their test “outperforms existing technologies” and therefore provides a more efficient approach for early cancer detection.

Existing blood tests can already detect cancer, but often only one type and with limited reliability. In the study, the team wrote: “These findings pave the way for a cost-effective, highly accurate, multi-cancer screening test that can be implemented on a population-wide scale. This could re-shape screening guidelines, making this plasma test a standard part of routine check-ups.”


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