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Can cancer blood tests live up to promise of saving lives?

Joyce Ares turned 74 and was thrilled when she agreed to donate a blood sample for testing. So she was surprised when the test came back positive for signs of cancer. After repeated blood tests, PET tests and injections, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “I cried,” said the retired real estate agent. With tears in his eyes, he thought, ‘Well, now what are we going to do?’ such blood tests, called Liquid biopsies, have already been used by cancer patients to adjust their treatment and to check for tumors. The cancer is back. whether such a blood test on its own – when added to routine care – could improve the health of Americans. to. With progress in the DNA sequence and data science that makes blood tests possible, the California Grail and other companies are racing to market them. And U.S. government researchers are planning a major trial – possibly taking seven years with 200,000 participants – to see if the blood test could fulfill the promise of early cancer and save lives. “They are surprising, but we do not have enough information,” said Dr. Lori Minasian of the National Cancer Institute, which is involved in planning the study. “We do not have specific data that would reduce the risk of death from cancer.” The Grail is far ahead of other companies with 2,000 doctors willing to write a $ 949 test. Most insurance plans do not pay. The tests are sold without support from health organizations or recommendations from US health authorities. Reviews by the Food and Drug Administration are not required for this type of test. “For treatment, the FDA requires that there is a high probability that the benefits are not only proven, but they are more harmful. This is not the case. For devices like blood tests,” said Dr. Barry Kramer of the Lisa Foundation Schwartz for Truth in Medicine. Grail is planning to seek approval from the FDA, but is advertising his test while submitting information to the agency.The history of cancer research is instructive. In 2004, Japan stopped conducting tests on infants with breast cancer, after a study found it did not save lives. Last year, a 16-year study of 200,000 women in the UK found that regular ovarian cancer testing did not cause a significant difference in mortality. . Side to side? Most malignant tumors grow rapidly and avoid diagnosis and confirm death in some way. Worrying about fake things. Unnecessary costs. And the worst side effects from cancer care: PSA testing for men can lead to treatment complications such as restlessness or impotence, even when certain developing prostate cancers will never cause a problem. The evidence is stronger for clinical trials for breast, cervix and colon cancer. For some smokers, testing for lung cancer is recommended. Recommended tests – mammography, PAP test, colonoscopy – look for one cancer at a time. New blood tests look for multiple cancers at the same time. This is an advantage, according to Grail chief executive Dr. Joshua Ofman. ” We look at four or five cancers in the country, but (many) cancers come from diseases we did not seek at all, ”Ofman said. . Tomasz Beer of the University of Oregon School of Medicine and Science in Portland led a research project commissioned by Joyce Ares in 2020. After a severe cold of chemotherapy and radiation, doctors told her that the drug he succeeded. Her case is nothing, “but it is a skin-to-skin type — for good results, and not everyone will get that,” Beer said. While there were some early illnesses identified among the study participants, some failed to appear. cut things. For some, a blood test results in a cancer that has never been detected, which may mean a false positive result, or it may mean that there is a secret cancer that will appear later. For some, blood tests revealed cancer that has become a progressive disorder, Beer said. An elderly man with a serious condition refuses treatment.Grail continues to update his test as he learns from these studies, and is co-sponsoring an experiment with the British Ministry of Health in 140,000 people to see if the test blood can reduce the number of cancers caught in it. Although Ares is fortunate, it is not possible to determine whether her test increased healthy years in her life or whether she did not experience any significant changes, says Kramer, former director of the Cancer Prevention Department of the Cancer Center. wild land. “I really hope Joyce benefits. Doing this test,” Kramer said when she was told what had happened. “But unfortunately, we don’t know, at Joyce’s level one person, whether that’s the case.” Cancer treatment can have long-term effects, he said, “and we do not know how fast and rapid growth will occur.” Treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma is so effective that it is too late until she feels the symptoms can have a happy outcome. Now, health experts emphasize Grail blood test is not a cancer; positive results lead to more tests and biopsies. “This is an experimental method that has never been tried before,” Kramer said. “Our ultimate goal is a test that has a positive impact. If we don’t do it carefully, we will get out of the way.”

Joyce Ares turned 74 and was thrilled when she agreed to donate a blood sample for testing. So she was surprised when the test came back with signs of cancer.

After repeated blood tests, PET tests and needle biopsy, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I cried,” a retired real estate agent said. “Then some tears and thoughts,” Okay, now what are we going to do? “

Residents of Canby, Oregon, volunteered to perform a blood test that is being considered as a new area in cancer testing for healthy people. It looks for cancer by looking at the DNA fragments shed by tumors.

Such blood tests, called Liquid biopsies, have already been used on patients with cancer to adjust their treatment and check to see if the tumors have returned.

Now, a company is advertising its blood test for people who have no symptoms of cancer as a way to detect cancerous growths in the pancreas, ovaries and other areas that have no diagnostic method.

The open question is whether such cancer blood tests – when combined with routine care – could improve Americans’ health or help achieve the White House goal of reducing cancer deaths by half. over the next 25 years.

With advances in DNA sequencing and data science making blood testing possible, the Grail of California and other companies are racing to market them.

And U.S. government researchers are planning a major trial – possibly taking seven years with 200,000 participants – to see if the blood test could fulfill the promise of early cancer and save lives.

“They are surprising, but we do not have enough information,” said Dr. Lori Minasian of the National Cancer Institute, which is involved in planning the study. “We do not have specific data that would reduce the risk of death from cancer.”

The Grail is far ahead of other companies with 2,000 doctors willing to write a $ 949 test. Most insurance plans do not pay. The tests are sold without support from health organizations or recommendations from US health authorities. A review by the Food and Drug Administration is not required for such a test.

“For treatment, the FDA requires that there is a possibility that the benefits are not only proven, but they are more harmful. This is not the case for devices like blood tests,” said Dr. Barry Kramer of the Lisa Schwartz Foundation. for Truth in Medicine.

Grail is planning to apply for approval from the FDA, but is advertising his test while submitting information to the agency.

The history of cancer testing teaches mindfulness. In 2004, Japan stopped conducting tests on infants with breast cancer, after a study found it did not save lives. Last year, a 16-year study of 200,000 women in the UK found that regular screening for ovarian cancer did not cause any difference in mortality.

Things like this have uncovered some surprising findings: Research has identified some cancers that do not require treatment. Side to side? Most malignant tumors grow rapidly and avoid diagnosis and die in some way.

And evaluation can do more harm than good. Worrying about fake things. Unnecessary costs. And the worst side effects from cancer care: PSA testing for men can lead to treatment complications such as restlessness or impotence, even when certain developing prostate cancers will never cause a problem.

The evidence is stronger for clinical trials for breast, cervix and colon cancer. For some smokers, testing for lung cancer is recommended.

Recommended tests – mammography, PAP test, colonoscopy – look for one cancer at a time. New blood tests look for multiple cancers at the same time. That is an advantage, according to Grail chief executive Dr. Joshua Ofman.

“We are diagnosing four or five cancers in this country, but (most) cancer deaths come from cancers that we do not seek at all,” Ofman said.

Dr. Tomasz Beer of the University of Oregon School of Medicine and Science in Portland led a study commissioned by Joyce Ares in 2020. After a severe cold of chemotherapy and radiation, doctors told her that the drug he succeeded.

Her case is not clear, “but it is the kind of hope that is expected, and not everyone will get it,” Beer said.

While there are some early cancers identified among the study participants, some have had little experience. For some, a blood test results in a cancer that has never been detected, which may mean a false positive result, or it may mean that there is a secret cancer that will appear later. For some, blood tests have found cancer that has become a progressive disorder, Beer said. A senior candidate with a malignant case refuses treatment.

Grail continues to update his test as he learns from these studies, and is co-sponsoring a trial with the British Ministry of Health in 140,000 people to see if blood tests can reduce the number of cancers diagnosed in stages.

Although Ares is fortunate, it is not known whether her test has improved her health or whether she has not experienced any significant changes, says Kramer, former director of the Cancer Prevention Department of the Cancer Center. ground.

“I hope Joyce benefited from doing this test,” Kramer said when she was told what had happened. “But unfortunately, we don’t know, at Joyce’s level one person, whether that’s the case.”

Cancer treatment can have long-term effects, he said, “and we do not know how fast and rapid growth will occur.” Treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma is so effective that it is delayed until she feels the symptoms have had a happy outcome.

For now, health experts emphasize Grail’s blood test is not cancer; positive results lead to further investigations and biopsies.

“This is a method of testing for a disease that has never been tried before,” Kramer said. “Our ultimate goal is a test that has a positive impact. If we don’t do it carefully, we will get out of the way.”

Can cancer blood tests live up to promise of saving lives? Source link Can cancer blood tests live up to promise of saving lives?

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