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New blood test can detect 50 different cancers, including ovarian cancer

01 April 2020

Blood test cropped

It has been reported today that a new blood test can detect 50 different cancers, including ovarian. 

Published in the medical journal Annals of Oncology, the new study demonstrates how a test can detect DNA shed by tumours in the blood.

By focusing on chemical changes to the DNA, known as methylation patterns, the researchers say they can not only tell whether someone has cancer, but what type too.

The blood test was developed using a machine learning algorithm that identifies patterns in data, a type of artificial intelligence.

More than 4,000 patient samples were tested as part of this study.

The research was conducted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with The Francis Crick Institute and University College London.

When asked when a test like this will be ready for use, lead researcher Prof Geoff Oxnard said: "Based upon this successful clinical validation in thousands of patients, the test has actually now been launched for limited use on clinical trials. But before this blood test is used routinely, we will probably need to see results from clinical studies like this to more fully understand the test performance.”

Early detection is vital in providing women the best possible treatments and survival of ovarian cancer. 

Find out more about the research we’re funding to develop an ovarian cancer screening tool.

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