Cancer is a frightening disease that impacts many people worldwide, a molecular disorder characterized by the corruption of genetic information at the cellular level, with consequences resulting in changes to critical proteins and molecular circuits. While many treatment options are available, early detection is key to successful treatment; liquid biopsies are a new way to detect cancer.
Let us explore liquid biopsy, how it works, and the benefits of using this approach to detect cancer
A liquid biopsy is a new, non-invasive way to detect and screen for cancer, predict a person’s risk of developing cancer, and guide treatment decisions.
Types of liquid biopsies:
There are several types of liquid biopsies currently available or under development. The most common type uses blood or other body fluids to look for DNA changes that may be associated with cancer. Liquid biopsies consist of isolating tumor-derived entities like circulating tumor cells, circulating tumor DNA, and tumor extracellular vesicles present in the body fluids of patients with cancer, followed by an analysis of genomic and proteomic data contained within them.
Other liquid biopsies look for proteins or molecules released by cancer cells into the bloodstream. It involves using a simple blood test to look for cancerous cells or DNA. This method is less invasive than traditional biopsies and can screen for multiple types of cancer at once. It could also monitor cancer patients for recurrent cancer or assess their effectiveness.
Advantages of Liquid biopsy over traditional biopsy:
There is a significant advantage of liquid biopsy over traditional tissue biopsy. Liquid biopsies are minimally invasive, have a shorter turnaround time, lower sample isolation costs, provide real-time drug response monitoring, and reveal spatial and temporal tumor heterogeneities.
As the specificity of the technology continues to progress, cancer screening and prevention will improve and save countless lives by finding cancer early so that routine surgery may only be for a definitive cure.
While far less expensive and accessible than traditional biopsy methods, it is a promising option for patients worldwide. With continued research and development, a liquid biopsy may soon become the gold standard for cancer screening, holding great promise for the future of cancer detection and treatment.