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article imageLiquid biopsy improves personalized medicine for cancer

By Tim Sandle     Aug 30, 2019 in Science
A new liquid biopsy medical technique promises to take personalized medicine for cancer into the future, offering better treatment options with treatment based on real-time data assessments.
The key aspects with the new medical aproach is with the introduction of continuous monitoring of cancer. This fits in with recent adavnces with personalized treatments, whch means that medicjnes can be better tagrteted to suit speciifc cancers in relation to indivdiua patients. This aproach also means that some procedures canbe avoided.
Personalised medicine (sometimes called precision medicine) represents a move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to healthcare and with the treatment patients with a particular condition, to a paradigm where new approaches are put in place to better manage patients’ health. This involves the use of target therapies to achieve the best outcomes in the management of a patient’s specific health issue.
The new technique has been developed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute together with the Mayo Clinic, and it is a new blood test for breast cancer. Called the Targeted digital sequencing (or TARDIS, possibly with a passing references to Dr. Who), the liquid biopsy has been designed to detect and quantify circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).
ctDNA is tumor-derived fragmented DNA in the bloodstream that is not associated with cells and it is a marker for cancer. The amount of circulating tumor DNA in a patient's bloodstream depends on the number of cancer cells in their body.
The new method for detecting ctDNA based on liquid biopsy promises to be able to effectively track the progression of breast cancer at its earliest stages.. Furthermore, the method also assist with real-time analysis for the blood test can track the efficacy of drug therapies better than current imaging techniques. This not only can avoid unnecessary surgical procedures it can help to ensure the most appropriate treatments are delivered.
Commenting on the method, Dr. Carlos Caldas of the Cancer Research U.K. tells Biotechniques: "TARDIS is a game changer for response monitoring and residual disease detection in early breast cancer treated with curative intent. The sensitivity and specificity of patient-specific TARDIS panels will allow us to tell very early, probably after one cycle, whether neo-adjuvant (before surgery) therapy is working."
The method has been reported to the journal Science Translational Medicine, with the research paper titled "Personalized circulating tumor DNA analysis to detect residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy in breast cancer."
More about Cancer, Liquid biopsy, Biopsy, Tardis
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