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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £30-35 million a year

Liquid biopsy blood tests could detect cancer early

A new blood test is able to detect 10 different types of cancers years before patients show symptoms, according to the research from Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute.

The test, called a liquid biopsy, screens for cancer by detecting tiny bits of DNA released by cancer cells into blood. The test had particularly good results for ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

Researchers hope the test will become part of a “universal screening” tool that doctors can use to spot cancer in patients early.

The cancer sites that were examined in the study did not include brain, but the study does suggest that scientific progress has been made across many different types of cancers and there is the potential to include this test as part of a routine medical screening.

Brain tumours are very complex and have unique properties, hence further work will be required to determine whether this current test may be useful. One of the issues is the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain. Because of it, any tumour markers may not be released into the blood and this may prevent us from detecting cancer cells within the brain.

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