Using a Simple Blood Test Helps Detecting Cancer Earlier Than Ever Before

Blood test

Tumor biopsies represent the standard for cancer diagnosis. They are the primary method for molecular testing designed to guide the selection of precision therapies. Liquid biopsies, are rapidly emerging as an important and minimally invasive adjunct to the use of standard tumor biopsies. And, in some cases, they represent a potential alternative. [1]

Using a simple blood sample to check for cancer cells in the body, instead of an invasive tumor biopsy, is for most people, an unknown, new technology. But the technology may not be new for oncologists and hematologists involved in the treatment of cancer. And the benefits are well clear.

“But doctors do very well in improving lives of people whose cancers are screened and detected before symptoms occur. Five-year survival rates increase dramatically if cancer is detected at an early stage,” explained David A. Ahlquist, MD, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Researchers found that adding blood-based liquid biopsy testing nearly doubled the number of mutations detected in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) compared to solid tissue testing alone. [2]

Precision oncology

A Canada-based precision oncology company Cancer Treatment Options and Management (CTOAM), has been using liquid biopsies for over four years. Today, the company announced that it is launching a new biotech company called Liquid Biopsy Labs (LBL).

The capacity to detect new cancers, treatment-resistant variants, and tumor heterogeneity by noninvasive technology on the basis of tumor DNA in the blood promises to revolutionize cancer detection, prevention, and treatment.[1]

LBL provides cancer patients and clinics with access to new patent-pending technology that produces more accurate results than other commercial liquid biopsy tests. Standard liquid biopsies measure DNA from blood, but they do not identify the source of this DNA: It may be from dead cancer cells (due to treatment); live cancer cells traveling via blood (metastasis); normal cells; or extracellular vesicles, such as exosomes. Subsequently, standard liquid biopsies cannot tell if a treatment is working because the source of the DNA is not specified by the test

“Our research team has discovered a way to isolate and quantify tumor DNA from blood that is specifically involved in the process of metastasis, giving us crucial information about how well a patient’s cancer treatment is working or not, which not only saves time and money but can be the difference between life and death,” noted Alexander Rolland, chief science officer and co-founder of Liquid Biopsy Labs.

LBL’s novel liquid biopsy test can be used for a variety of clinical applications, including determining the likelihood that a patient would benefit from immunotherapy, identification of inherited mutations that may be clinically relevant, better understanding which mutations are driving the growth of the cancer cells and the detection of recurrent cancer cells.

“Our new test is 99-plus percent accurate. [These] liquid biopsy test represents a new milestone in cancer diagnostics ? one that will have significant effects on patients,” explained Michelle Morand, LBL co-founder and managing partner of the company

Reference

[1] Corcoran RB, Chabner BA Application of Cell-free DNA Analysis to Cancer Treatment. N Engl J Med. 2018 Nov 1;379(18):1754-1765. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra1706174.

[2] Aggarwal C, Thompson JC, Black TA, Katz SI, Fan R, Yee SS, Chien AL, Evans TL, Bauml JM Clinical Implications of Plasma-Based Genotyping With the Delivery of Personalized Therapy in Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.JAMA Oncol.2018 Oct 11. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.4305. [Epub ahead of print