23:26 GMT02 December 2020
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    Scientists have developed CancerSEEK, a new blood test that detects eight common forms of cancer. In an interview with Sputnik, Joshua Cohen, lead author of the study and MD-PhD student at the Johns Hopkins University, described it as "the first step," with more work yet to be done.

    Sputnik: How long did it take you to develop this new blood test?

    Joshua Cohen: We've been able to leverage this information to our advantage and develop this test. We were absolutely ecstatic when we were able to make this major step forward.

    Sputnik: How does this differ from the current tests that are available, including tests for oncological markers and Angelina Jolie's tests?

    Joshua Cohen: There are three components in our test that make it unique. The first one is that the test is the combination of the bio-markers together and that's really a key to having a test which is capable of detecting the majority of different cancers.

    READ MORE: 'Potential for Detecting Cancer Using Blood Test Is Enormous' – Cambridge PhD

    The second thing is that we look at a comparatively small panel of genes and the last component is that we are able to predict a majority of cases where a tumor is located. That information is very critical to subsequent management of patients who test positive.

    Sputnik: How accurate is CancerSEEK currently?

    Joshua Cohen: It's the first step, and the most important work to be done is that the test needs to be evaluated in a very large-scale prospective study and on many healthy individuals. So we continue work on refining and improving the test to make it more sensitive.

    Sputnik: What steps are you going to take to make the test more accurate?

    Joshua Cohen: We are looking into combining even more markers into the test, which currently looks at sixteen different genes and eighteen protein bio-markers.

    READ MORE: Call for Access Across UK to 'Exciting New Meds' Slowing Spread of Breast Cancer

    So we are looking at increasing the number of protein bio-markers, changing the gene panel […] to detect different types of mutations. We are also looking at incorporating different types of bio-makers into the test.

    Sputnik: When is the next round of testing on healthy individuals scheduled for?

    Joshua Cohen: We are currently already conducting a study of more than 10,000 healthy women aged 65 and older as part of this large-scale prospective study that I’ve mentioned. We will hopefully have more information relatively soon.

    The views and opinions expressed by Joshua Cohen are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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