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New Test May Detect Pancreatic Cancer Early

  • VOA News

A woman places an apple next to a portrait of Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, outside an Apple store in central Moscow, Oct. 6, 2011. Jobs died at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Researchers have developed a blood test that could help with the early detection of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

Doctors usually are unable to diagnose cancer of the pancreas until it is too late. Most patients die within a year.

The new test uses stem cell technology to look for markers in the blood of people who, because of diabetes or family history, are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

Scientists took late-stage cancer cells from a patient and used technology to genetically regress those cells to a stem cell state.

They were able to return those cells to an early cancerous state and find what are called biomarkers in the blood to detect the disease early enough for treatment.

The researchers say the new test has an 87 percent accuracy rate in identifying someone with stage 1 or 2 pancreatic cancer, and a 98 percent rate in ruling out the disease in those who are not sick.

The study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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