Pancreatic cancer blood test breakthrough

Scientists believe they are close to a blood test for pancreatic cancer, one of the hardest tumours to detect and treat. The test, which they describe as "a major advance", hunts for tiny spheres of fat that are shed by the cancers. Early results published in the journal Nature showed the test was 100% accurate.
Experts said the findings were striking and ingenious, but required refinement before they could become a cancer test. The number of people who survive 10 years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is less than 1% in England and Wales compared with 78% for breast cancer.
The tumour results in very few symptoms in its early stages and by the time people become unwell, the cancer has often spread around the body and become virtually untreatable. A wall of fat marks the boundary of every cell in the human body. Tiny spheres of fat, called vesicles or exosomes – can break away to store and transport goods around the body.
The team at the Anderson Cancer Centre at the University of Texas looked for the unique signatures of cancer in these fatty exosomes. They noticed one protein, called proteoglycan glypican-1, was found in much higher levels in people with pancreatic cancer. Further tests on the blood of 270 people showed it was 100% accurate at distinguishing between cancers, other pancreatic disorders and healthy tissue.