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Cancer blood tests getting closer to tissue biopsies in results
Brain cancer may be a good candidate for blood biopsies. Photo: Michelle Monje, M.D., Ph.D., Stanford University / NIH Flikr Image Gallery

One of the next big advances in cancer treatment will be the development of blood tests, called liquid or blood biopsies, that can monitor the growth of tumors by analyzing DNA shed from tumors into the bloodstream, several cancer experts tell Axios. Multiple research facilities and biotech companies are developing and testing these biopsies, but before they'll be seen in the clinic they need to lower the costs and prove the tests are reliable and lead to patients living longer.

The bottom line: The blood tests could help determine more precise treatments for cancers proven stubbornly hard to treat, like brain cancer. "In my opinion, there is very little doubt it will be" available soon, said Mark Roschewski, a staff clinician at the lymphoid malignancies branch at the National Cancer Institute. "Only question is when and at what breadth."