The “Liquid Biopsy” For a Cancer Diagnosis
by S. Terry Kraus, M.D.
It has been known since 1948 that cellular building blocks or nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) can be found circulating in the blood stream. Only recently has circulating cell–free DNA been able to identify cancers. This obtained through a blood sample. It has been called both “blood biopsy” and “liquid biopsy.”
Small strands of nucleic acids break off from a chromosome. These can now be “extracted” and, at times, identified as malignancies. Through advanced techniques, multiple cancer cell types have been found. A limited list of cancers that might benefit from a noninvasive “liquid biopsy “would be: prostate, cervix, ovary, uterus, rectal, pancreas, head and neck cancer, esophagus, lung cancers, and breast.
The “blood biopsies “or “liquid biopsies” are still in the developmental stage. But wouldn’t be incredible to be able to take a yearly blood test to determine whether or not one had a pre-malignant condition or an early cancer?
In time, “blood biopsies “will be able to provide faster, cheaper and less invasive ways to assess a cancer patient’s status as well as response to treatment. It may well be that the greater volume of DNA obtained from a liquid biopsy, will predict the massiveness of the cancer and perhaps the prognosis.
This may be an incredible step into the future of cancer management. As Sir Winston Churchill said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Originally published in Senior Living Magazine. Click here to read the original article.