CBS reports on how breakthroughs in technology, the market for genetic tests that gives patients information about their genes has increased rapidly over the last ten years. Statistics show that there are now more than 60,000 on the market right now. CBS explains, “But in the race to profit from this exploding industry, CBS News found some may be promising more than science can deliver.”
What test is CBS referring to?
The test was created to further help people in the fight against cancer. The test is one that could decipher a tumor before a patient shows symptoms and would be a total game-changer for patients.
Most researchers thought that such a test was at least three years away; but a CBS News investigation came across one test on the market that could give patients a false sense of security about their risk of developing cancer. Pioneers from the biotech world were calling this the latest and greatest new invention.
Dr. Richard Klausner, former head of the National Cancer Institute and a director of Grail, a company developing a liquid biopsy, which is a blood test for cancer, commented on the test. He said, “This has the potential to totally change not just cancer but all of medicine.”
Klausner further said that someone with no symptoms could get his or her blood drawn and find out whether he or she has cancer. He referred to it as the ‘holy grail’.
Klausner also said the idea holds great promise, but said proving it is efficient and works will take some time. “The answers are not going to be clear until we do definitive and large scale studies because we need to know, not that this sounds good, but that it's true," he said.
The liquid biopsy market is set to expand nonstop by 2020. Researchers estimate it will be worth $20 million by then.
What exactly sparked the interest of experts everywhere? Everyone is looking at the Cancer Intercept Detect and Monitor.
The company even issued a marketing video saying, ‘CancerIntercept can detect a growing tumor in the body, before the patient may notice symptoms - it's like a cancer stethoscope for detecting and monitoring cancer’.
The FDA issued a statement to CBS News saying that they consider tests like this one a ‘major health risk’, the main issue being that patients and doctors might make major health decisions based on information we do not completely comprehend.