Could a simple blood test catch cancer before symptoms appear? Nicola Davis goes beyond the hype and investigates the future of blood diagnostics and cancer.
A blood test that could detect cancer earlier than current methods has long been a dream of oncologists. The hope is that these “liquid biopsies” could save countless lives by diagnosing cancer before symptoms show. They’re less invasive, quicker and easier than what is available now.
However, this area of research has been plagued with hype. This happened most notably when a Silicon Valley startup – Theranos – allegedly duped investors out of hundreds of millions of pounds for the development of a blood test that would test a range of diseases, including cancer. Something that led to its founder being charged with criminal fraud. But Theranos is not the only product out there. And many others are showing real genuine promise.
Nicola Davis explores the science of blood diagnostics with Prof Beverley Hunt, a haematologist working in central London and discusses how some “liquid biopsies” work with Prof Jacqui Shaw from the University of Leicester.