Researchers have identified 788 biomarkers in blood that could be used to develop an early stage cancer screening test for the general population. The study, led by the University of Sheffield, is the first to create a comprehensive list of relevant cancer blood biomarkers that have been researched in the last five years.
The team – from the Universities of Sheffield, Coventry and Warwick – started with over 19,000 scientific studies published over the last five years that investigated blood based biomarkers. Systematic review methods – including ruling out studies in fewer than 50 patients – reduced this to 4,000 studies from which the final biomarker list was compiled.
Lead researcher, Dr Lesley Uttley, from the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research, said: “Because of the sheer number of publications in this field, previous reviews have only been able to look at one biomarker or a small group of biomarkers. Our data mining approach allowed us to take in all relevant research findings from the five-year period, which meant we could map the full range of potential blood-based biomarkers that are particularly relevant for early detection of cancer.”
The work was carried out on behalf of the Early Cancer Detection Consortium, a group of nearly 40 organisations, including universities, hospitals and commercial companies. The Consortium has set up a company, Pinpoint Cancer Ltd, to take the research forward and is actively seeking investment and funding for the next stages of the project.
|Image: N0037051 Blood testing vacuettes by Wellcome Images / Steven Kenny|