Research Matters 2021
EARLIER DETECTION: IDENTIFYING PANCREATIC CANCER BEFORE METASTASIS
DETECTING CANCER EARLY THROUGH A BLOOD TEST
Most pancreatic cancers are detect- ed only after the disease has me- tastasized, making treatment more challenging and allowing only 20% of patients to qualify for surgery. CancerSEEK, a blood test initially developed by Lustgarten-funded re- searcher Dr. Bert Vogelstein and his lab team at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, can detect the early presence of multiple cancers, includ-
ing pancreatic cancer. A study pub- lished in Science (February 28, 2018) found CancerSEEK has a specificity of greater than 99% and a sensitivity of 72% in patients with pancreatic cancer stages 1-3. In 2019, Thrive Earlier Detection Corp., founded to commercialize CancerSEEK, completed a prospective study of 10,000 healthy patients. Results reported in 2020
showed CancerSEEK more than doubled (25% to 52%) the number of cancers discovered in individuals with no prior history of cancer. New technologies are still being developed to improve the test’s accuracy. In 2021, Exact Sciences, a diagnostic company specializing in the detection of early-stage cancers, acquired Thrive.
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