The liquid biopsy is a test conducted on a simple blood sample. It is a simple process and the best alternative to traditional surgical biopsy. It is a very useful test that can be used to trace cancer DNA in the blood. It can also help the doctors determine the best treatment for the cancer patients. At first, liquid biopsies were conducted on breast, lung and prostate cancers. However, this technology is anticipated to have major benefits for all other types of cancer.
How does liquid biopsy work?
Liquid biopsy only requires five milliliters of blood. This means the process is quicker and easier than any other traditional biopsy. The blood sample is later rolled down to obtain two milliliters of plasma which is used for the test. For efficient recovery of small DNA fragments, cfDNA isolation kits have been created. Convenience and acceptability are some of the main benefits of patients. Another major boost for liquid biopsy is the ability to detect or determine disease treatment long before it generates clinical symptoms.
One main benefit of this method is that it is not risky to the patient. The test is conducted outside the body of the patient and not inside. The only contact with the person involved is when the blood is needed for examination. In addition, the cost of the test is affordable compared to other methods of testing.
Most types of cancers have many generic changes and this might not be the same in all parts of cancer. When a tissue is removed for biopsy, it might not show all mutations. However, when the liquid biopsy is used, there is a good chance of detecting these vital changes. Liquid biopsies are definitely the game-changer when cancer testing is involved. The benefits of these tests are very clear to both the patient and disease management. In long-term benefits, the liquid biopsy can be used to detect signs of cancer even before the symptom arises. This can make a very important difference in the way people understand cancer treatment and how it is treated.
From the doctor’s view, the discovery of liquid biopsies is a big advantage to many and especially to patients who do not have tissues or cannot provide tissues for various reasons. This means it will increase the number of patients to benefit, mostly the lung cancer patients. However, the command to improve survival rates and progress will be the final factor to determine whether the liquid biopsy will become the main diagnostic tool.
Does entry of liquid biopsies mean the end of tissue biopsies?
According to many health experts, liquid biopsies can transform cancer care. However, its entry in cancer treatment does not mean the end of tissue biopsies. There are some challenges that remain to be addressed and hence there is still some place for tissue biopsies. For liquid biopsies, it is in its earlier days and many things need to be considered before tissue biopsies can be declared redundant. For instance, how does test accuracy differ among various types of tumor and various stages of the disease? Can liquid biopsy give a representative sampling of the entire tumor or is it biased to certain regions? Health experts and researchers are working to provide a solution on these answers.
Liquid biopsies may not replace tissue biopsies now or in the future but will allow many people to be tested. Today, most cases of cancer have no tissue to test on. This new technique has the possibility to change cancer health care especially the lung cancer. Even though the entire technique is not fully complete, soon everything will in place. More studies are being carried out to fully discover the potential of plasma testing. It is a win-win situation for both the patient and the doctors.
More confirmation on trials is needed on the on the worth of liquid biopsies in the medical background. For example, liquid biopsies are considered the best when dealing with lung cancer. But is the technique the better option in diagnosing and observing other types of cancer? Do liquid biopsies play any role in discovering treatment methods in the field of immune-oncology? These are some of the questions researchers are looking at.
Additionally, using a blood test than depending on the tissue will be a breakthrough as most of the time a traditional biopsy does not pick enough tissue. But as scientific knowledge improves, scientists are discovering more about the liquid biopsy.