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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ) and Boston-based scientists are expected to announce on Monday a partnership to bring a new cancer blood test to market.

The Associated Press reports that the healthcare giant and the Boston scientists who created the test will say they're partnering up to bring the test to the market.

The test is said to be able to detect a single cancer cell among billions of healthy ones, AP reports.

Four major cancer centers will begin using the experimental tests this year, AP says.

"This is like a liquid biopsy" that doesn't require painful tissue sampling and may be a more effective way to monitor patients than intermittent imaging scans, AP reported Daniel Haber, chief of Massachusetts General Hospital's cancer center and one of the test's inventors, as saying.

AP reports that the test could offer a much more effective way to test for cancer than methods such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

Shares of J&J have risen 1.4% to $62.70 in Monday trading, while peer Pfizer ( PFE) is up 1% to $17.69 and peer Bristol Myers Squibb ( BMY) is up 0.8% to $26.68.

As a whole, stocks were firming up on Monday, the first trading day of 2011, driven by a more optimistic U.S. economic outlook.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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