A spate of recent studies on liquid biopsies for cancer suggests researchers are making progress toward their ultimate goal of non-invasive diagnostics for evaluating how well a cancer treatment is working and early detection of the disease. However, the tests remain in early stages of development and still face doubts from some experts as to whether they can overcome issues like high rates of false negatives or positives.
"This is the wave of the future...The question is: How do we do it better? There are lots of directions it can move in," Eric Topol, genomics scientist and director of The Scripps Research Institute not involved in these studies, told Axios.
Early cancer detection study: A Johns Hopkins team announced Wednesday they have developed a blood test that spots tiny bits of DNA in the blood and, in the study, used them to accurately identified more than half of 138 people with relatively early stages of colorectal, breast, lung, and ovarian cancers.
Other recent research includes:
- a blood test for nasopharyngeal cancer being developed in Hong Kong by a company with a Silicon Valley connection
- a platelet test detecting RNA from lung cancer tumors
- a European study on how liquid biopsies can be used to check the effectiveness of treatment
- the detection of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from the plasma of patients in a study at Stanford