New Blood Test Has Potential to Detect Cancer Cells

New Blood Test Has Potential to Detect Cancer Cells
Courtesy NBC

POSTED: Monday, January 3, 2011 - 4:20pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 14, 2011 - 7:37am

HOUSTON— In a potential break-through for cancer patients, a new blood test is showing some promising results: finding cancer cells.

Though the blood test is still in development, it a appears to be able to detect a single cancer cell in the body. The experiment is so promising that Johnson and Johnson has agreed to help develop it.

If successful, doctors said it could be used to replace the painful biopsies used to check for cancer cells that have spread. It could find those cells that don't usually show up on follow-up imaging scans, give doctors a sign if a treatment is working, and maybe even help understand how tumors grow.

Though many doctors around the nation are expected to begin clinical trials on the blood test later this year, the test itself is years away from being available to the public.

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