Some of the most deadly cancers are also among the hardest to detect before symptoms appear, but Wisconsin researchers used technology to develop what they believe could be a more effective and inexpensive way to identify cancer early.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzed fragments of DNA floating outside of cells in plasma samples to test for markers of cancer. The researchers accurately distinguished between cancer patients and healthy individuals 91 percent of the time.

“We would hope that it would help us diagnose patients with cancer earlier and at a point where they can still be treated with surgery and other existing treatments that we have and cured of their disease,” said Muhammed Murtaza, an associate professor of surgery at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

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