10 Tech Advances That Can Change Medicine


December 16, 2016

Liquid Biopsy for Cancer

Major validation studies of circulating cell-free, plasma tumor DNA (tDNA) versus solid tissue biopsy were published, and the number of companies pursuing this goal, with targeted sequencing of the tDNA, has now expanded to more than 50. The extent of cancer-related genes sequenced from the blood sample has grown substantially. New entrants into the field this year include Grail and Cirina, both of which are doing studies to detect cancer in large cohorts of healthy people, using either tDNA or tDNA methylation.

It remains to be seen whether a liquid biopsy will provide accurate detection in asymptomatic individuals, but the benefits over solid tissue biopsy for patients with a presumptive diagnosis or undergoing surveillance are especially alluring (less expense, risk, and discomfort, and possibly more representative of the cancer biology process, overriding solid tissue heterogeneity).[2]


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