Giving Compass’ Take:
· According to Jake Siegel at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, recent trials show that simple blood tests, or liquid biopsies, are a reality and may serve as an effective alternative to invasive tissue biopsies.
· How can donors support further research and trials of liquid biopsies? What does this mean for modern medicine? How will this change healthcare?
For years, the idea seemed as far-fetched as a fairy tale.
The appeal of a simple blood test to detect and analyze cancer is obvious. It could replace the necessary evil of tissue biopsies — invasive, often risky and painful procedures to collect tumor cells with a needle or through surgery. A vial of blood sounds like a better trade than a chunk of tissue.
Recently, the idea of these so-called “liquid biopsies” seems less like a fantasy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its first liquid biopsy test in 2016. It could detect mutations in a single gene in lung cancer patients.
Genetic sequencing technology has evolved rapidly since then. Today at the American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting, researchers presented results from a clinical trial that found a commercial blood test was as effective as tissue biopsies at detecting multiple genetic mutations in lung cancer patients. All of the mutations have targeted drugs available for them, meaning the liquid biopsy could help guide treatment.
Read the full article about blood tests as an alternative to invasive tissue biopsies by Jake Siegel at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
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