Black and white image of a cancer cell.
Peter Kuhn and researchers at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Biosciences aim to revolutionize how breast cancer screening. (Image source: National Cancer Institute/Bruce Wetzel and Harry Schaefer.)

Could a simple blood test detect cancer?

USC Dornsife physicist Peter Kuhn discusses his breakthrough breast cancer detection test, which could potentially upend how we diagnose many types of cancer.
ByMargaret Crable

Clinicians agree that cancer screenings, such as mammograms, offer the best hope of finding cancer before it’s out of hand. Unfortunately, screening is often uncomfortable and can require invasive techniques. It also generally involves several days of anxious waiting before results are available.

Replacing these sorts of screenings with a simple blood draw, one which could provide instantaneous results, has been a tantalizing yet unrealized dream among researchers for decades. (It was also the failed promise underpinning the Theranos scandal, which rocked Silicon Valley in recent years.) USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Dean’s Professor of Biological Sciences Peter Kuhn says such screening technology isn’t just a pipe dream, however.

He and his team are developing a new method they’ve dubbed “the Pink Test” to detect breast cancer by looking at a patient’s bloodstream rather than imaging tissue. It could revolutionize cancer screening and treatment monitoring for many types of cancer.

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