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Investigating cell-free DNA in liquid biopsy

Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is currently trending as a biomarker for liquid biopsy in several clinical applications, including oncology, organ and transplant medicine, and non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT). cfDNA comprises various forms of unencapsulated DNA freely circulating the bloodstream, including circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA). Due to the small amount of cfDNA found in circulation, there is need to use efficient, highly sensitive technologies, such as NGS, to detect these biomarkers. However, the NGS workflow—isolation, library preparation, and sequencing—can present its own sensitivity challenges in clinical application. For example, with cfDNA extraction, the release of genomic DNA from lysed or apoptotic cells contaminates the limited amount of cfDNA in a sample, thereby diluting the concentration of the cfDNA used in an assay. This white paper discusses some of these challenges and opportunities to measure cfDNA and ctDNA from blood.

Nucleic acids in cancer

Nucleic acid isolation and purification is a fundamental requirement in biological research. High-quality DNA is essential for enabling scientists across a plethora of fields to conduct life science and medical research. Automation and technological advances in DNA isolation and purification have lowered the cost and time needed for DNA sequencing and diagnostics. This is driving extensive changes through those specialties where the utilization of nucleic acids has gone far beyond just the storage of genetic information and protein synthesis.

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