A Circulating Solution?
Liquid biopsy – and appropriate, cell line-derived controls – are essential for improving patient care
Keith Cannon, Prabha Nagarajan | | Opinion
Advances in precision medicine are transforming cancer diagnosis and treatment. The potential to detect and monitor both solid tumors and blood cancers has spurred aggressive research programs around the world. Liquid biopsy – the analysis of short nucleic acid fragments (150–500 bp) in blood – provides researchers with a unique opportunity to identify and define signatures for specific tumor types. These circulating free DNA (cfDNA) fragments not only offer the potential for earlier detection and diagnosis, but can also measure therapeutic effectiveness and inform treatment decisions.
Cancers present complex biological pathways that vary across tumor types and patients, and not all tumors respond equally to treatment. For example, therapies targeting pathways in highly proliferative or resistant tumors are more efficient and effective. Personalized genomics has therefore opened a groundbreaking path for molecular diagnostics in oncology.
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