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.