In the usual cancer biopsy, a surgeon cuts out a piece of the patient’s tumor, but researchers in labs across the country are now testing a potentially transformative innovation.
The liquid biopsy is a blood test that has only recently become feasible with the latest exquisitely sensitive techniques. It is showing promise in finding tiny snippets of cancer DNA in a patient’s blood.
The hope is that a simple blood draw — far less onerous for patients than a traditional biopsy or a CT scan — will enable oncologists to quickly figure out whether a treatment is working and, if it is, to continue monitoring the treatment in case the cancer develops resistance. Failing treatments could be abandoned quickly, sparing patients grueling side effects and allowing doctors to try alternatives.
Researchers caution that more evaluations of the test’s accuracy are needed. So far, there have been only small studies in particular cancers, including lung, colon and blood cancer. But early results are encouraging.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the variety of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Promising alternative to biopsy is like ‘bar coding cancer in blood’