Blood biopsies offer early warning of cancer’s return Editor’s Note: Enrollment in the PATHFINDER study is temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.In a study involving thousands of participants, a new blood test detected more than 50 types of cancer as well as their location within the body with a high degree of accuracy, according to an international team of researchers led by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a Harvard affiliate, and the Mayo Clinic.The results, published online today by the Annals of Oncology, indicate that the test — which identified some particularly dangerous cancers that lack standard approaches to screening — can play a key role in early detection of cancer. Early detection can often be critical to successful treatment.Developed by Grail, Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., the test uses next-generation sequencing to analyze the arrangement of chemical units called methyl groups on the DNA of cancer cells. Adhering to specific sections of DNA, methyl groups help control whether genes are active or inactive. In cancer cells, the placement of methyl groups, or methylation pattern, is often markedly different from that of normal cells — to the extent that abnormal methylation patterns are even more characteristic of cancer cells than genetic mutations are. When tumor cells die, their DNA, with methyl groups firmly attached, empties into the blood, where it can be analyzed by the new test.“Our previous work indicated that methylation-based tests outperform traditional DNA-sequencing approaches to detecting multiple forms of cancer in blood samples,” said Dana-Farber’s Geoffrey Oxnard, co-lead author of the study with Minetta Liu of the Mayo Clinic. “The results of this study suggest that such assays could be a feasible way of screening people for a wide variety of cancers.”In the study, investigators used the test to analyze cell-free DNA (DNA from normal and cancerous cells that had entered the bloodstream upon the cells’ death) in 6,689 blood samples, including 2,482 from people diagnosed with cancer and 4,207 from people without cancer. The samples from patients with cancer represented more than 50 cancer types, including breast, colorectal, esophageal, gallbladder, bladder, gastric, ovarian, head and neck, lung, lymphoid leukemia, multiple myeloma, and pancreatic cancer. Tests that look for hundreds of tumor mutations may detect residual disease in patients after treatment Related Chan School’s Rebbeck highlights cancer’s complex picture Drop in cancer deaths lifts U.S. life expectancy The overall specificity of the test was 99.3 percent, meaning that only 0.7 percent of the results incorrectly indicated that cancer was present. The sensitivity of the assay for 12 cancers that account for nearly two-thirds of U.S. cancer deaths was 67.3 percent, meaning the test could find the cancer two-thirds of the time but a third of the time the test returned a negative result. Within this group, the sensitivity was 39 percent for patients with stage I cancer, 69 percent for those with stage II, 83 percent for those with stage III, and 92 percent for those with stage IV. The stage I-III sensitivity across all 50 cancer types was 43.9 percent. When cancer was detected, the test correctly identified the organ or tissue where the cancer originated in more than 90 percent of cases — critical information for determining how the disease is diagnosed and managed.“Our results show that this approach to testing cell-free DNA in blood can detect a broad range of cancer types at virtually any stage of the disease, with specificity and sensitivity approaching the level needed for population-level screening. The test can be an important part of clinical trials for early cancer detection,” said Oxnard, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.The study was funded by Grail, Inc. As part of further validation research, Dana-Farber has joined a multi-center clinical trial of the test. The PATHFINDER study intends to enroll about 6,200 participants across the U.S. Participants in the study will have the results of the test communicated to them.
Dobrovac points out that the Germans are changing their minds a lot. “Either they are full to come or they have decided not to travel this year. We have a very good response and reactions through social networks, and when we talk directly with the guests, they are generally interested in coming. There are a lot of them who come back and want to come, while others change their minds”Concludes Dobrovac. “Apart from the main promo video for holiday homes, we also made a video in which we advertise our new service in which renters will be happy (without additional costs) to make for guests and the first purchase that will welcome them in the house. They send us a list, we translate it and send it to the landlords. Upon arrival, guests only pay for groceries ordered directly from the landlord. So far, we have received a lot of positive reactions to this video, ie the service, but we do not have any concrete inquiries for it yet, but we have just started promoting it, so we will see concrete demand for this service at the end of the year. says Dobrovac. The IDRiva Tours agency points out that the number of holiday home reservations is growing day by day and that tourists are slowly “relaxing” when it comes to travel. Apart from nautical, the greatest interest is in luxury holiday homes with swimming pools. “It is certainly noticed that people are looking for more private accommodation or holiday homes. In addition to the growing number of inquiries and reservations, we notice that on our site most stay at holiday homes. The most popular are detached houses that are surrounded by greenery, and some houses that we offer are even the same number of days filled as last year. There were a lot of cancellations at the beginning, but, as I said, appointments have been filled lately”Points out Dobrovac and adds that in addition to holiday homes, mobile homes in camps are also in demand. Finally, the question that most tourism workers are currently most interested in is the interest of our main emitting market for Croatia this season. Offer ID: Rive Tours and in Croatian – idriva.hr Thus, the first departure of six tourist ships of the ID Riva Tours fleet this year from the port of Rijeka started on 20.06. with about a hundred tourists embarking on a seven-day cruise around the Kvarner islands. Austrians and Germans go on cruises by boat, on average about twenty per ship. It was on the topic of the situation in Germany and other trends that I talked to Simon Dobrovac, head of marketing at IDRiva Tours. “So far, people have probably been waiting to see how the situation unfolds, but they are starting to get encouraged. We assume that many were waiting for the “first ones” to break the ice and see what the situation was like. We started traveling 15.06. as soon as Germany lifted the travel warning and we were the first this year to embark on cruises”Points out Dobrovac. This season, the IDRiva Tours agency also announced a new service in cooperation with its partners and hosts. Namely, through the reservation it is possible for guests who rent a holiday home in Croatia to get a full refrigerator, ie for the hosts to make the first purchase without additional delivery costs, so that guests can be greeted by a bun refrigerator. At the beginning of the week, the agency ID Riva Tours, which is synonymous with Croatia on the German market, announced this year’s offer with a special focus on holiday homes in Croatia and thus confirmed the great interest in such an offer in Germany, but also opened up to the domestic market with its entire offer. New service: The hosts make the first purchase for their guests Related news: ID RIVA TOURS FOCUSED ON HOLIDAY HOMES IN CROATIA