A simple new blood test that can catch cancer early | Jimmy Lin

A simple new blood test that can catch cancer early | Jimmy Lin


Cancer. Many of us have lost family,
friends or loved ones to this horrible disease. I know there are some of you
in the audience who are cancer survivors, or who are fighting cancer at this moment. My heart goes out to you. While this word often conjures up
emotions of sadness and anger and fear, I bring you good news
from the front lines of cancer research. The fact is, we are starting to win
the war on cancer. In fact, we lie at the intersection of the three of the most exciting
developments within cancer research. The first is cancer genomics. The genome is a composition of all the genetic information
encoded by DNA in an organism. In cancers, changes
in the DNA called mutations are what drive these cancers
to go out of control. Around 10 years ago,
I was part of the team at Johns Hopkins that first mapped
the mutations of cancers. We did this first for colorectal, breast, pancreatic and brain cancers. And since then, there have been
over 90 projects in 70 countries all over the world, working to understand
the genetic basis of these diseases. Today, tens of thousands
of cancers are understood down to exquisite molecular detail. The second revolution
is precision medicine, also known as “personalized medicine.” Instead of one-size-fits-all methods
to be able to treat cancers, there is a whole new class of drugs
that are able to target cancers based on their unique genetic profile. Today, there are a host
of these tailor-made drugs, called targeted therapies, available to physicians even today to be able to personalize
their therapy for their patients, and many others are in development. The third exciting revolution
is immunotherapy, and this is really exciting. Scientists have been able
to leverage the immune system in the fight against cancer. For example, there have been ways
where we find the off switches of cancer, and new drugs have been able
to turn the immune system back on, to be able to fight cancer. In addition, there are ways
where you can take away immune cells from the body, train them, engineer them
and put them back into the body to fight cancer. Almost sounds like
science fiction, doesn’t it? While I was a researcher
at the National Cancer Institute, I had the privilege of working
with some of the pioneers of this field and watched the development firsthand. It’s been pretty amazing. Today, over 600 clinical trials are open, actively recruiting patients
to explore all aspects in immunotherapy. While these three exciting
revolutions are ongoing, unfortunately, this is only the beginning, and there are still many, many challenges. Let me illustrate with a patient. Here is a patient
with a skin cancer called melanoma. It’s horrible; the cancer
has gone everywhere. However, scientists were able
to map the mutations of this cancer and give a specific treatment
that targets one of the mutations. And the result is almost miraculous. Tumors almost seem to melt away. Unfortunately, this is not
the end of the story. A few months later, this picture is taken. The tumor has come back. The question is: Why? The answer is tumor heterogeneity. Let me explain. Even a cancer as small
as one centimeter in diameter harbors over a hundred million
different cells. While genetically similar, there are small differences
in these different cancers that make them differently prone
to different drugs. So even if you have a drug
that’s highly effective, that kills almost all the cells, there is a chance
that there’s a small population that’s resistant to the drug. This ultimately is the population that comes back, and takes over the patient. So then the question is:
What do we do with this information? Well, the key, then, is to apply all these exciting
advancements in cancer therapy earlier, as soon as we can, before these resistance clones emerge. The key to cancer and curing cancer
is early detection. And we intuitively know this. Finding cancer early
results in better outcomes, and the numbers show this as well. For example, in ovarian cancer,
if you detect cancer in stage four, only 17 percent of the women
survive at five years. However, if you are able to detect
this cancer as early as stage one, over 92 percent of women will survive. But the sad fact is, only 15 percent
of women are detected at stage one, whereas the vast majority, 70 percent,
are detected in stages three and four. We desperately need
better detection mechanisms for cancers. The current best ways to screen cancer
fall into one of three categories. First is medical procedures, which is like colonoscopy
for colon cancer. Second is protein biomarkers,
like PSA for prostate cancer. Or third, imaging techniques, such as mammography for breast cancer. Medical procedures are the gold standard; however, they are highly invasive and require a large
infrastructure to implement. Protein markers, while effective
in some populations, are not very specific
in some circumstances, resulting in high numbers
of false positives, which then results in unnecessary work-ups
and unnecessary procedures. Imaging methods,
while useful in some populations, expose patients to harmful radiation. In addition, it is not applicable
to all patients. For example, mammography has problems
in women with dense breasts. So what we need is a method
that is noninvasive, that is light in infrastructure, that is highly specific, that also does not have false positives, does not use any radiation and is applicable to large populations. Even more importantly, we need a method
to be able to detect cancers before they’re 100 million cells in size. Does such a technology exist? Well, I wouldn’t be up here
giving a talk if it didn’t. I’m excited to tell you about
this latest technology we’ve developed. Central to our technology
is a simple blood test. The blood circulatory system,
while seemingly mundane, is essential for you to survive, providing oxygen
and nutrients to your cells, and removing waste and carbon dioxide. Here’s a key biological insight: Cancer cells grow and die
faster than normal cells, and when they die, DNA is shed into the blood system. Since we know the signatures
of these cancer cells from all the different cancer
genome sequencing projects, we can look for those signals in the blood to be able to detect these cancers early. So instead of waiting for cancers
to be large enough to cause symptoms, or for them to be dense enough
to show up on imaging, or for them to be prominent enough for you to be able to visualize
on medical procedures, we can start looking for cancers
while they are relatively pretty small, by looking for these small amounts
of DNA in the blood. So let me tell you how we do this. First, like I said, we start off
with a simple blood test — no radiation, no complicated equipment — a simple blood test. Then the blood is shipped to us, and what we do
is extract the DNA out of it. While your body is mostly healthy cells, most of the DNA that’s detected
will be from healthy cells. However, there will be a small amount,
less than one percent, that comes from the cancer cells. Then we use molecular biology methods
to be able to enrich this DNA for areas of the genome which are known
to be associated with cancer, based on the information
from the cancer genomics projects. We’re able to then put this DNA
into DNA-sequencing machines and are able to digitize the DNA
into A’s, C’s, T’s and G’s and have this final readout. Ultimately, we have information
of billions of letters that output from this run. We then apply statistical
and computational methods to be able to find
the small signal that’s present, indicative of the small amount
of cancer DNA in the blood. So does this actually work in patients? Well, because there’s no way
of really predicting right now which patients will get cancer, we use the next best population: cancers in remission; specifically, lung cancer. The sad fact is, even with the best drugs
that we have today, most lung cancers come back. The key, then, is to see whether we’re able to detect
these recurrences of cancers earlier than with standard methods. We just finished a major trial with Professor Charles Swanton
at University College London, examining this. Let me walk you through
an example of one patient. Here’s an example of one patient
who undergoes surgery at time point zero, and then undergoes chemotherapy. Then the patient is under remission. He is monitored using clinical exams
and imaging methods. Around day 450, unfortunately,
the cancer comes back. The question is:
Are we able to catch this earlier? During this whole time,
we’ve been collecting blood serially to be able to measure
the amount of ctDNA in the blood. So at the initial time point, as expected, there’s a high level
of cancer DNA in the blood. However, this goes away to zero
in subsequent time points and remains negligible
after subsequent points. However, around day 340, we see the rise
of cancer DNA in the blood, and eventually, it goes up higher
for days 400 and 450. Here’s the key, if you’ve missed it: At day 340, we see the rise
in the cancer DNA in the blood. That means we are catching this cancer
over a hundred days earlier than traditional methods. This is a hundred days earlier
where we can give therapies, a hundred days earlier
where we can do surgical interventions, or even a hundred days less
for the cancer to grow or a hundred days less
for resistance to occur. For some patients, this hundred days
means the matter of life and death. We’re really excited
about this information. Because of this assignment,
we’ve done additional studies now in other cancers, including breast cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer, and I can’t wait to see how much earlier
we can find these cancers. Ultimately, I have a dream, a dream of two vials of blood, and that, in the future, as part of all
of our standard physical exams, we’ll have two vials of blood drawn. And from these two vials of blood
we will be able to compare the DNA from all known
signatures of cancer, and hopefully then detect cancers
months to even years earlier. Even with the therapies we have currently, this could mean that millions
of lives could be saved. And if you add on to that
recent advancements in immunotherapy and targeted therapies, the end of cancer is in sight. The next time you hear the word “cancer,” I want you to add to the emotions: hope. Hold on. Cancer researchers all around the world
are working feverishly to beat this disease, and tremendous progress is being made. This is the beginning of the end. We will win the war on cancer. And to me, this is amazing news. Thank you. (Applause)

95 thoughts on “A simple new blood test that can catch cancer early | Jimmy Lin”

  1. That is going to help lot people who are suffering from cancer. Until that don't lose HOPE we will win this war .

  2. As a guy who currently has leukemia, hearing about these new methods really makes me happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Mr Jimmy Lin your heart is bigger than the universe it self i wish the world has more ppl like you. and thank you for all the efforts you doing.

  4. It's rumoured that the cure has been found by researchers but kept secret so that hospitals get more money from the patient's chemotherapy bills

  5. This sounds like a diagnostic approach which is both cost effective and minimally invasive. Im wondering whether there are Primers for sequencing available for most oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes?

  6. All this research didn't help my partner who died because of a grade 4 glioblastoma in 2011. Cannabis oil may have worked, but it was illegal in my country then.

  7. This was a comment on a reply. Figured I'd post it as a comment:
    The research and pharmaceutical industries WILL, not might lose tens of billions in revenue if a cure for cancer is given trial status on humans. If merely one of the many scientific and non-scientific 'cures' prove true, the pharmaceutical and instrument supply companies and all the other associated 'cancer' industries will begin to fold. The economic impact on the cancer industry would be enormous. If an 'open source', free, make or grow at home cure for a variety of cancers was to become popular, the same result would happen for the Cancer Treatment Empire. Hence the perpetuated 'War on Drugs'.

  8. Never in the history of medicine has a metabolic chronic disease been cured by medicine. Only by nutrition…and that's a fact.

  9. If Jimmy keeps this up his true fight won't be in the frontier of helping to fight cancer but to ward off the massive pharmaceutical companies.

  10. You wont ever win the Cancer war – why? Big Pharma. — thumbs down this video to show your lack of support for IGNORANCE.

  11. There are already cures. Hospitals just want better cures for making more money. There are people who want cure and people who want money. People who want quality of life and people who want to steal yours.

  12. This is really good news. In January I hit the 5 year mark for a leukemia I discovered at stage 4. I was lucky. I saw so many children at the clinic and in the hospital who were also dealing with late stage cancer. It breaks one's heart. Maybe these discoveries will prevent children from needing such harsh treatment. Thanks for sharing TED, and giving us hope.

  13. How to exterminate cancer:
    1. don't get children between the 20. of July and the 11. of august
    2. ???
    3.Profit

  14. Lmao we've had the cute for cancer for ages…. which is also why you won't EVER hear about this method actually being used. There are people on the top who's profiting off treating cancer NOT curing it. It's disgusting.

  15. Giving a talk like this takes bravery. There's no doubt that Jimmy is pissing off a lot of medical companies that make tons of money from cancer treatment.

  16. Sounds good..keep secret..keep high costs,so hospital can make more money ?patients are dying with the pain of thy can't afford .

  17. Sadly, this method is still far from being approved by the governments officially, and when it will, it will cost huge amounts of money.

  18. How do you guys distinguish between the reliable people and scammers here?
    Can I trust this guy? It looks too good to be true. Is it a viable therapy?

  19. Hats off for jimmy lin and those scientists who finding methods to cure cancer..
    One day we will win the war against cancer..!

  20. The sad truth is, cancer will still be a major problem until we develop some kind of way to end cancer in stages 2,3,4. Yes it may die down using methods like these but will still be a major problem.

  21. What about using the virus method? I'm no Dr/scientist but the special I saw on hbo, fighting cancer using small box and hiv to culture and create a virus that killed the cancer in all known cases immediately

  22. If this becomes a standard test for everybody on a half a year basis this could bring in lots of money ๐Ÿ™‚ because its not only cancer patients paying but the whole world! So awesome profit Potential here ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. I heard that for diagnosing hereditary diseases, DNA sequencing takes a lot more effort than simply putting stuff in a computer and wait for magic to happen. This 'blood test' technology sounds so far fetched that I really doubt it reliability. It makes me curious tho. I'll look at some scientific papers later to look up the guy (ยด๏ฝฅ_๏ฝฅ`)

  24. Damn remember that Ted talk a couple months ago talking about this technology,damn ,is already proceeded so much. Science is evolving fast

  25. I hope & pray you're right. Breast February 2013 (4yrs clean/5) Pancreatic February 2016. Three month post 8 months Chemo & radiation (three months after Whipple)cat scan clear 5/23/17… next one 8/23/17. #Hope is all we have. What a horrible legacy for my children & two grandsons!! Though a miracle find and non invasive they can't promise me 5 years. At this point I'm blessed to be alive at all!!! ๐ŸŽ€๐Ÿ’œ

  26. You guys need to realize that doctors & scientists have parents,there's a possibility one of those parents has or had cancer and they're doing everything possible to find a cure. If I where a scientist and my mom died of cancer I wouldn't mind finding the cure and releasing it to the public.

  27. So… am I a tin foil hat conspirator if I think cancer already has a pretty good cure but they are releasing it slowly to milk dying people of their money? Even though there hasn't been all that much proof, several doctors who do independent research do actually end up dead from "accidents". Well yeah, people die it could be coincidence but you know, its not a far stretch to think that billion pharmaceutical dollar companies will use a bit of cloak and dagger in their operations. Whats a few dead doctors and black mail compared to billions in profit. Then you think… the stuff in movies do actually happen… so I'm wondering if Hillary Clinton actually called an order to make a few of her naysayers "disappear" since a few actually died when they said they had incriminating evidence. Hence the meme. They have the power and the motive and specific people end up dead conveniently.

  28. while doing all of this ground breaking treatment, wouldn't it be nice if patients were also utilizing the most amazing super foods, teas and detoxing etc to support the overall health of the body. I wish he would talk about the diet of his patients, too. I think it is a huge key that is overlooked all of the time. The other supportive key could be Reiki and other energetic healing modalities. Wouldn't it be nice if we healed will all tools available and study what combinations work best together to fight cancer?

  29. wondering one day cancer can be treated like a normal flu , you can come to a drugstore and buy some cancer pills which only cost some cent xD

  30. Did he say the man with bumps all over his body had melanoma? That's not like any melanoma like I've ever seen!

  31. How long will it take you and your team to run research and is there anyway to find out more about milestones of the results?

  32. But If you can detect cancer without symptoms then when would people know to get a blood test?? Just have a test every 6 months just in case??

  33. This is not to do with cynicism or anything but i genuinely think cure for cancer from an abstract point of view is just beyond reach, period.

  34. I hear amazing things about Bacteriophages (Tblisi, Georgia). Could it be possible to utilize "designer" Phages to focus in on the cancer cells that current treatments leave behind as mentioned in this vid?

    My amateur understanding of this biology is that everything that dies is eaten by something. If that food was original a bacteria/virus, then the organism that ate it builds up immunity (a kind of self-vaccination or exposure-therapy thing) e.g. antibiotic resistance build up or in the case of Phages, a Yin-cure to every Yang-illness. Simplified and wrong? Probably.

    Anyway, (for Science!) why not feed dead/live resistant cancer cells to Phages (+methodology) and determine if can be used to devour the sneaky little buggers left behind (and at the same time, not let the Umbrella Corporations patent=OWN all of life)

  35. When will these blood tests be available in Georgia (the country) ๐Ÿ™ and when will doctors start using this new method i wonder

  36. I have one last question where to get money for that treatment? One month of treatment of melanoma costs 15-20 thousand dollars easier to die(((

  37. When is it going to stop?ย  Treatment vs Cure…hummmm?ย  When are you people going to wakeup???ย  Unbelievable and very sad!

  38. Another form of catching any cancer in small forms , I use Bovine Colostrum, something that isnt spoke of rapidly go the this link https://youtu.be/ViB3k_gvLp0 to feel and see results fast as preventive treatment

  39. https://youtu.be/K6tslsIfoPs

    Here is what it is , what it does, Balance, Compose, in Essence Colostrum, modulates the immune system, to keep it strong and teaching your body to help all three programs in your body —-

    How the Endocrine System Functions With Other Systems:

    Nervous System – The Endocrine System works with this system by sending hormones to cells and thereby causing a physical reaction. These hormones provide feedback to the brain and affect neural processing, which give your body instructions on how and when to react to certain extrema. Other hormones, such as reproductive hormones, affect the development of the nervous system.

    Digestive System – The Endocrine System works with this system through the pancreas, which produces the hormone insulin. When we digest carbohydrates (through the digestive system) they are then transformed into sugars. The pancreas, which is part of the endocrine system, produces the hormone insulin to regulate how fast the sugars are consequently broken down; therefore, insulin regulates the amount of sugar in the blood.

    Circulatory System – The Endocrine System works with this system because it works as the transport system for endocrine information. It basically works with the circulatory system to send hormones throughout the body where they can be received by various organs and cells, and are then put to use through bodily functions.

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