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Illumina Develops New Test To Detect Cancer In Its Early Stages

Update Date: Jan 12, 2016 10:56 AM EST
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In a herculean bid to beat cancer before it develops, gene-sequencing giant, Illumina Inc., is apparently on a serious quest to develop the world's first accessible and universal DNA-based cancer blood test to detect early signs of cancer even without the symptoms.

The California-based firm recently announced the formation of GRAIL- a new company created for such purpose- with $100 million worth of financing from Illumina and its partners, namely, Arch Venture Partners, Bezos Expeditions, Bill Gates, and Sutter Hill Ventures according to Wall Street Journal.

Illumina still retains the majority control and ownership over the new separate company.

GRAIL's attachment to Illumina allows the former to utilize the latter's existing research assets and technological advantages to create a screening test specifically devised to detect cancer at an early stage.

"We hope today is a turning point in the war on cancer. By enabling the early detection of cancer in asymptomatic individuals through a simple blood screen, we aim to massively decrease cancer mortality by detecting the disease at a curable stage," said Illumina CEO Jay Flatley as quoted saying by Business Wire.

The idea for cancer tests isn't exactly new but new efforts mark a trend of making gene sequencing more affordable and accessible.

The current 'war on cancer' is a very expensive with an estimated $90 billion spent on cancer drugs and treatments.

Illumina hopes that GRAIL would be credible enough to meet rising expectations. Its newly developed blood test is expected to be available in the market some time in 2019 through clinics, hospitals, and testing centers as mentioned by Technology Review.

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