A blood test that spots the early signs of cancer could mean get people treatment earlier, reports Antonio Regalado. That should save lives, if it works.
The news: A new company called Thrive Earlier Detection is building on the work of cancer researcher Bert Vogelstein to develop a blood test that spots the genetic mutations that cause cancer—before there are any symptoms.
How it works: The “liquid biopsy,” relies on the fact that tumors release mutation-riddled DNA and distinctive proteins into the bloodstream. These can sometimes be detected even in someone with no outward signs of cancer.
What counts as success? Vogelstein thinks Thrive’s test will need to spot around 20% of actual cancers while keeping false positives to no more than 1 in 100.
What’s next: Thrive will need to gather enough data to convince insurers to pay for the tests, which could cost around $500 each. Results from a large test in New York hospitals are due next year. Read the full story here.