A new study on “liquid biopsy” is being tested for viability in detecting cancer DNA in the patient’s blood. This method checks the effectiveness of cancer treatments administered to the patients, see whether the cancer cells are resisting the treatments and help doctors figure out if the treatments are failing so that new treatments can be utilized to fight cancer. The new method, which is a simple blood test, has only been a very recent innovation, and has been showing few positive results using sensitive techniques. However, though promising, researchers are warning that more tests are needed to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of the new method.
Formerly, a biopsy is a simple, minimally invasive procedure where a sample tissue (very small) is taken from a suspected body organ for testing to corroborate doctors’ suspicion on patient’s illnesses. Most often, biopsies are ordered by physicians when they suspect cancer.
Dr. David Hyman, Acting Director in the Developmental Therapeutics at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, has said that the procedure is like bar coding the cancer in the blood since every cancer as a mutation that can be tracked by this new technique.
Another colleague of Dr. Hyman, Dr. Jose Baselga, a Physician-in-Chief at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and President-Elect of the American Association for Cancer Research for 2014–2015, has stated that the new procedure could change responses to therapies, introductions of resistance, and in the future, the procedure can be utilized for early diagnosis. He hopes that with every simple blood draw, doctors can make the same uniform determination of illnesses in patients. He further added that weekly biopsy, say liver, may not possible but a simple blood test can be done every single week.
Cancer cells are rogue cells that grow and divide at an unregulated, accelerated speed. They do not need oxygen to grow and multiply and can thrive like parasites in the biological systems of hosts – animals. As present, though there have continuous research about cancer cells and their cure, there is still no known cure that can effectively wipe out cancer cells in the body.