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A new test to detect cancer decades before it is present

Must See 21/08/2018

This new $50 blood test has the potential to detect killer diseases like heart attacks and breast cancer before symptoms are present. This blood test has been discovered by students at Harvard University medical school which is called 'polygenic risk scoring' which measures cholesterol levels.

It is aimed at children and babies, and the students would like to see it performed on children when they are born. Finding potential illness many decades before symptoms become visible. 

This blood test calculates the chances of a baby contracting coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and breast cancer when they are older. 

This study was published in Nature Genetics, and for the first time, dangerous diseases are going to be able to be detected early on. Therefore doctors would perform early intervention techniques to maybe stop the possible diseases a person could get.

The lead author of the research, Sekar Kathiresan, a professor of medicine at Harvard, said

We've known for long time that there are people out there at high risk for disease based just on their overall genetic variation,


400,000 individuals in the UK were tested, and the study found that 8%  of participants were at high risk of gaining coronary artery disease. However they did not yet show any symptoms of the disease.

Those who were studied for gaining breast cancer had a 1.5 per cent chance of developing it based on the results of the polygenic predictor. 

The researchers found that polygemntic scoring is an effective way to find other diseases as well, including type 2 diabetes, a life-threatening heartbeat problem called atrial fibrillation and inflammatory bowel disease, again, all before any symptoms are present. 

The most alarming result was found in the US sector of the research where they found that 25 million people in the US alone may be at more than triple the average risk for coronary artery disease yet none of them showed any symptoms at the time of the test. 

The researchers hope this technique can be universally used soon for all babies, but would you want to know if your child is more likely to contract a deadly disease when they're older?