A team at John Hopkins University created an experimental blood test called “liquid biopsy” that can detect cancer in women even before they had the symptoms. Even though this test is not yet ready to be commercialized, but this type of test still makes it true that cancer can be detected once with a blood test. Right now this test is in its early stage and can detect only a few types of cancer.  

The team tested 10,000 women who had no symptoms of any kind of cancer. Of the 10,000 women, 26 cancers were screened which were later confirmed with PET / CT. They included forms of cancer that are typically not detected until they have already spread since in the early stages they cause such subtle symptoms. Also, the volunteers got treated for their cancers as a part of the study.

This test was built by John Hopkins along with venture capital funding and established a company called Thrive Earlier Detection to commercialize it. The team is now planning a larger trial to help show that the test would operate without too many false positives, ensuring that if they did not, it would not misleadingly suggest anyone had cancer. 

The team was cautious to ensure this experimental blood test didn’t traumatize their volunteers. The researchers didn’t want to give a false sense of security to people who got a negative blood test that would allow them to avoid screening for cancer.