Liquid Biopsy holds Great Potential in transforming Cancer Treatment
A novel type of blood test, better known as liquid biopsy, could be a game changer in cancer treatment. The test looks out for cancer DNA preventing patients to undergo surgical and needle biopsies.
In the liquid biopsies, cancer cells or DNA are captured that tumor shed into blood. As per doctors, it is a significant advancement in the cancer field. It is considered to be the non-invasive way of checking for cancer. Using this method, doctors can directly target mutations and they can also come to know whether or not the treatment is effective.
Such was not the case two years back when these tests were limited for research purpose. Now, things have changed as many have been developed and sold and more than a dozen are in the development phase.
Many doctors are already using these tests on regular basis. Potential of these tests are clear and it is known that they help patients. Dr. Razelle Kurzrock, a University of California, San Diego cancer specialist, is excited about these tests and their usability.
Tests are being carried out when a tissue biopsy cannot be carried out; when cancer’s original spot is unknown or when drugs are no more showing results and doctors are confused what they should be trying next.
As per doctors, tissue biopsy does not provide complete information. But such is not the case with a liquid biopsy, which finds out how the disease changes. There is a lot of change in earlier and newer tests. Advanced versions look out for free-floating cancer DNA.
Many companies have been working on similar tests, including Sequenom, a San Diego biotechnology major. For now, it is unknown whether liquid biopsies would prove cost effective or not. There are chances that liquid biopsies may offer a new way to screen cancer.
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