Liquid Biopsy Experiment Raises Hope
Laboratory tests are crucial to diagnosing diseases. They help physicians confirm or rule out ailments as well as help in determining the proper protocols necessary to correct abnormal conditions. But when it comes to serious conditions like cancer, there is a new kind of test known as liquid biopsy which could have a big role to play in the future of medicine.
In the case of cancer, early detection is the next best thing to finding a cure. Unfortunately some tests are not too accurate or require invasive procedures like colonoscopies or taking tissue biopsies. Some screening tests even cause potential harm whether it's physical or psychological.
But with liquid biopsy, which is a non-invasive procedure, not only will it give a potentially more accurate result but it also may give medical practitioners the ability to monitor changes in tumour genomes in real time since taking a blood sample is much simpler than taking a tissue sample. This in turn will ensure that patients get the best possible personalized care and treatment regimen.
However, there are still a lot of things that are not fully understood with this test hence its limited application. It is only a secondary option to tissue biopsy because there are still not enough studies to support its efficacy. Further research will have to be done before it becomes a mainstream predictive test for cancer.
Potential benefits of liquid biopsy
- Provides more information
One limitation of tumour biopsy is the lack of molecular profile it provides. Samples are taken from the primary tumour and analyzed to determine the treatment regimen. However, tumour heterogeneity can be quite complex that a sample from a single tumour may not be an accurate enough representation of the cancer as a whole.
A liquid biopsy may be able to provide medical practitioners a disease's whole heterogeneity thus enabling them to provide a more tailored treatment regimen for the patient and greatly improve therapy efficacy and outcomes. It can also provide more data and improve clinicians' understanding of how a disease progresses and create more awareness regarding the signals that would ultimately help in identifying the early stages of a disease. If liquid biopsy is further researched and understood, it can become a simple but very useful routine test in the future that can be part of an annual checkup and greatly minimize cancer mortality rates.
- Minimizes risk and inconvenience for cancer patients
Most forms of cancer screenings have a certain degree of risk involved. Patients may experience some health problems as a consequence of these screenings and may end up not getting very accurate results in the end. Additionally, cancer screenings are painful and they take time so the trade off may not be totally worth it considering the limited gains.
- More cost-effective
At the moment, liquid biopsy is in itself an expensive test. But medical practitioners predict that it's eventually going to be more affordable in the future.
However even with its current price it could still be seen as a cost-effective option since it can more accurately help determine the type of medication that's better suited for a particular cancer patient. Imagine spending somewhere around $70,000 a year and not getting the optimum results from some cancer medications.
Liquid biopsy is a really exciting and interesting alternative to look into. It not only provides us with a better chance of battling cancer but it also takes us one step closer to understanding the disease more and coming up with more effective medications.