A blood test to detect cancer cells among millions of healthy cells could be available soon.
On Monday, the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and the scientists who invented the test will initiate meetings on order to put the test in the market. In addition, four cancer centers will undertake studies this year using the method as an experimental test.
The presence of some cancer cells in the blood means that a tumor has spread or is about to do so. A test that can detect these cells can transform the treatment for many cancers, especially of breast, prostate, colon, and lung.
It is expected that in time the test could be used to detect cancer in addition to mammograms, colonoscopies, and other methods that are used now.
Many people are diagnosed with cancer by a needle biopsy; these samples are often not enough to determine which genes or variables are the responsible of the growth of a tumor. But this medical test result would determine the effectiveness of drugs, and will know if it is working or if a change treatment is needed.