Employing the power of AI to hunt for tumor cells, a Cancer detecting tool has been developed by a group of researchers that has the ability to detect the early stages of lung cancer.
The researchers at the Baltimore-based biotech company DELFI Diagnostics have developed the machine learning-based blood testing technology that could greatly help in the detection of early stages of lung cancer.
As per the reports, the tool was able to detect roughly 90 percent of cancer cases out of 800 individuals that were screened for lung cancer.
DELFI CMO Peter Bach asserted by saying, “These results suggest that the DELFI lung cancer screening technology could help reduce lung cancer deaths by offering a convenient, high-performing test to people who are (United States Preventive Services Taskforce) eligible.”
Bach added, “We have already begun enrollment of a 1,700-patient, prospective, case-control study to generate the clinical evidence that would underpin a commercial lung screening test.”
Regarding the testing procedure, the cancer-detecting blood test focuses on tiny traces of cancer DNA that can be found in a person’s bloodstream, and instead of catching specific fragments of tumor DNA, like some other cancer blood tests currently in development, the new test looks for patterns of DNA fragmentation unique to cancer.
Additionally, the blood test is also much easier to administer when compared to low-dose CT scans (LDCT), allowing more individuals to be screened in shorter periods of time.
In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, the team outlines how the diagnostic tool can analyze genome-wide cell-free DNA fragmentation (cfDNAs) profiles, nucleic acid fragments present in the bloodstream, that can indicate the presence of tumor cells, with astonishing degrees of accuracy.
The study further showed the DELFI approach effectively detected 94 percent of lung cancer patients. Later-stage lung cancer patients were more accurately detected, with 96 percent of stage 3/4 lung cancers picked up by the method.
Rob Scharpf, a co-author on the new study, said, “DNA fragmentation patterns provide a remarkable fingerprint for early detection of cancer that we believe could be the basis of a widely available liquid biopsy test for patients with lung cancer.”
Meanwhile, a larger clinical trial is now underway to test the DELFI approach, and the ongoing trial will look to refine the test’s sensitivity and specificity detecting lung cancer, while also working to differentiate lung cancer cfDNA patterns from other kinds of cancers, such as bladder, kidney and colorectal.