Machine learning helps to develop a blood test that can identify 50 different types of cancer
- Diagnostic tool being piloted by NHS England shows ‘impressive results’ in spotting tumours in early stages
- The test, developed by US-based company Grail, looks for chemical changes in fragments of genetic code – cell-free DNA (cfDNA) – that leak from tumours into the bloodstream
- The test correctly identified when cancer was present in 51.5% of cases, across all stages of the disease, and wrongly detected cancer in only 0.5% of cases
- the overall ability to generate a positive test result in cancers of the blood, such as lymphoma and myeloma, was 55.1%
- The test correctly identified the tissue in which the cancer was located in the body in 88.7% of cases
- “These data suggest that, if used alongside existing screening tests, the multi-cancer detection test could have a profound impact on how cancer is detected and, ultimately, on public health.”
Dr Eric Klein, chairman of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at Cleveland Clinic
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