Liquid biopsy to detect tumor DNA: The possibilities

An article published on WBUR’s CommonHealth blog opens a window into liquid biopsy, also referred to as blood biopsy, in its current and future state. The article discusses how this rapidly-evolving technology has the potential to transform the way we detect and treat cancer. The technology of liquid biopsy is rapidly evolving, but still has a way to go until it can help bring about the revolution in cancer treatment that many are hoping for.

Since tumors tend to shed a bit of their DNA into the blood stream, liquid biopsy allows this tumor DNA to be collected. Specialized biomarker tests can be used to identify the genomic sequences of the tumor DNA fragments, to get a more accurate understanding of the most recent genetic mutations of a patient’s cancer.

Many doctors hope to use blood biopsies to guide how they treats patients: first, to decide which drugs to use based on the tumor DNA; and then, with repeated blood tests over time, to see how well the treatments are working. Liquid biopsies could help oncologists fight cancer that evolves resistance to treatment, leading to patient relapse. Tumor treatment resistance remains a central challenge for oncologists, even with new breakthrough drugs.

However, the application of liquid biopsies to treat cancer patients is still largely in the research phase, and is not yet a system. Yet, many believe that it soon will be. Currently, one big question is whether liquid biopsies can be scaled up to expand the pool of patients whose treatment is guided by their tumor’s DNA, which right now is about 15% of cancer patients. That number is expected to continue to expand quickly in the next few years, until eventually, it could include nearly everyone.

QIAGEN’s mission is to enable partners to achieve outstanding success and breakthroughs that make improvements in life possible. QIAGEN achieves this by closely following evolving market requirements, listening to the needs of the customer, and nurturing partner relationships to drive innovation and leadership. Their growing portfolio of liquid biopsy solutions is just one example of QIAGEN’s market-driven innovation. Find out more about QIAGEN’s liquid biopsy solutions available in your region by browsing www.qiagen.com, and get in touch with us if you are interested in developing a liquid biopsy solution specific to your therapy or drug development program.

Shibani Datta is a Global Market Manager in Demand Generation at QIAGEN. She has received her education in the field of Genetics from Texas A&M University, where she studied the mechanisms of DNA replication and amplification in Tetrahymena thermophila. Prior to her marketing role, she has trained as a biotechnologist in the field of assay development, antibody generation, and humanization. She is passionate about communicating the value of molecular technologies for research and healthcare.

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