Currently, there’s a huge push in the cancer community to develop blood tests that can screen for different types of the disease. A company called Guardant Health is working on one of these tools, a test called “Shield” that can screen blood for signs of early-stage colon cancer.
While more research is needed, this tool could be invaluable for early cancer detection and intervention.Read More
That’s why Guardant is currently testing its “Shield” product, which aims to increase screening rates by offering a simpler, less time-consuming, and less invasive screening option.
Can a blood test really detect colon cancer?
“The cancer diagnostic test has been available as what we describe as a laboratory-developed test, or LDT, and this is the first stage in getting the test to move forward,” Dr. Eagle explained.
The next step for Guardant is to bring research showing the test’s effectiveness to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval. There are many challenges when creating blood tests to screen for cancer, one of which is ensuring there isn’t a rise in false positives.
According to current guidelines in the U.S., average-risk adults between the ages of 45 and 75 should undergo regular colon cancer screening, whether that is through a colonoscopy (in which a thin tube is inserted to look for signs of cancer in the rectum and colon) or a stool test.
Adding the blood test as a potential option will ideally help reduce the number of people skipping recommended screenings, Dr. Eagle said.
“This is another option for people to have screening who may not prefer to deal with methods that involve the stool or the actual bowel,” he explained.
“One of the things we realized is there’s a target to try and screen up to 80% of people in the U.S. to prevent colon cancer and we’re not there yet … This is where we believe Shield can add value as well, for those people who should be screened but are not going through with the current testing methodology.”