Researchers detect cancer precursors in blood DNA before disease develops

April 10, 2015

Cost-effective, high throughput technologies used to analyze DNA are uncovering variations in our genetic code. Increasing numbers of these variations, sometimes referred to as mutations, are implicated in disease, including many cancers. With the ability to sequence DNA in the clinic, doctors can more definitively diagnose and predict patients' personal risks for developing cancer, based on the presence of these variants in their DNA. A new study reports on how DNA sequencing techniques can be applied to assess blood cancer risk in pre-symptomatic people. DNA sequencing, used in this way, shows promise as a tool to identify cancer risk variations, which ultimately could serve as life-saving pre-clinical indicators of blood cancer and other diseases. Genovese G, et al. Clonal hematopoiesis and blood-cancer risk inferred from blood DNA sequence. N Engl J Med, 371(26):2477-87. 2014.  

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