A new blood test can detect a single cancer cell among a billion healthy ones. Moreover, it captures any that it finds so that they may be quickly analyzed by doctors to determine possible effective treatments and measure the results. The test requires only a couple of teaspoons of blood and is hoped to be especially useful in the detection and treatment of breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers.

Johnson & Johnson owns the technology and expects to make it available to cancer patients on a limited basis this year. Ultimately it is hoped to be used as a routine cancer screening test for patients who are not known to have cancer.

Researchers at Harvard developed the technology which involves the use of a microchip that filters out the cancer cells. The chip has 78.000 tiny posts and studies on it have been published in the journals: Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, and Science Translational Medicine.


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That's nice, but can it tell if that one cell is going to cause any problems?

One of the main problems with Prostate Cancer, specifically, is that we (humans) don't yet have a good test to determine the aggressiveness of the Prostate Cancer. Therefore, many more men are TREATED (radiation, surgery, etc.) than are ever going to be SAVED by such treatment.

If this new test is not kept IN CONTEXT, it can cause more trouble than it solves.



(From the Wikipedia article: "A study in Europe resulted in only a small decline in death rates and concluded that 48 men would need to be treated to save one life. But of the 47 men who were treated, most would be unable to ever again function sexually and require more frequent trips to the bathroom." The statement of the negative side effects, I believe, is grossly exaggerated, but I hope you get the picture)
Extremely early detection cannot be a bad thing and ultimately is one of the things that this technology is hoped to afford. Removal of the prostate gland might be a very successful treatment if the cancer is detected before it spreads from the prostate.



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