Liquid biopsy blood test for cancer

biopsy2Broadcaster: Sky News

Year: 2018

Genre: News Package

Duration: 3 mins

URL: https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand/index.php/clip/126404

A Sky News report discusses new research conducted in Cleveland, Ohio which promises to offer a simple blood test offering diagnosis of a variety of cancers much earlier than currently possible. The liquid biopsy looks at DNA circulating in the blood. At present the research is encouraging proof-of-principle rather than being appropriate for the clinic – the accuracy of the test is not sufficiently reliable to be used in diagnosis without the risk of false positives or negatives.

That stated, however, the new test did seem most accurate for predicting pancreatic and ovarian cancers which are currently amongst those that are the hardest to diagnose sufficiently early to allow for effective treatment to be initiated.

At present, the research being reported was shared as a conference presentation rather than as a peer-reviewed paper. Having said that, however, there is already much excitement about the use of liquid biopsies to spot “biomarkers” for cancer. See this link for a 2013 review article Liquid biopsy: monitoring cancer-genetics in the blood .

The Sky News clip includes interviews with Annie Jones whose mum died from pancreatic cancer, and Justine Alford from Cancer Research UK. It could be used in teaching to illustrate the growing importance of genomic approaches to cancer diagnosis and treatment.

This link offers further coverage of the Cleveland research from The Scientist (which itself has further links to coverage in UK newspapers).

 

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