As the maxim says, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right.”
Blood diagnosis: A new tool against cancer
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second largest cause of death in Europe, and one in three people in Europe risk developing cancer in their lifetime.
Medical science is concentrating strongly on reducing the significant disability, suffering and numbers of cancer deaths. One focus is on developing new efficient diagnosis techniques including a blood test. Indeed, a blood test’s advantages are obvious: it is easy to use, inexpensive, and every doctor or clinic can do it.
Usually to confirm a cancer, doctors take a tissue biopsy then send it for genetic and molecular analysis. This technique is invasive and can be painful. Thanks to the latest technologies, the breadth of blood-detectable conditions is increasing and new diagnosis techniques are appearing.
Professor Vassiliki Papadimitrakopoulou at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, blood biopsies will be as accurate as tissue biopsies in detecting tumor. Recently, researchers have shown a commercial blood test – Guardant360 – is as effective as tissue biopsy. Guardant360 detects several mutations linked to a variety of tumors and is already available in 30 countries as a laboratory-developed test, and last year submitted several studies to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company demonstrated liquid biopsy is 48 percent more accurate than tissue biopsy, with higher and faster detection rates.
If the test receives the approval of the FDA, it will be the first liquid biopsy to get a green light and may become the first-line of diagnosis.
While tissue biopsies remain the gold standard, the liquid biopsies represent a promising new strategy for improving cancer treatments. It will allow more doctors to make treatment decisions in a timely manner. At same time, with better diagnosis, more patients will have access to the right type of therapy.
Time Magazine: A Simple Blood Test Is as Effective as a Biopsy in Detecting Lung Cancer Mutations, February 2019.
Eurostat: European Causes of Death Statistics