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Trying to keep up with new scientific terms:
Liquid biopsy

Liquid biopsy seems to be pretty popular these days. It refers to a simple blood test to screen for cancer early on, which is quite needed since cancer kills 8M people annually. The approach relies on gene-sequencing machines, which rapidly decode millions of short fragments of DNA that are loose in the bloodstream and then compared with a reference map of the human genome.

The proposed liquid biopsy test would be used to test and detect either circulating tumor cell-associated biomarkers or circulating tumor DNA. Both can give extensive information about the biology of the disease to help direct treatment.

Several questions might have to be considered. What is the potential future of liquid biopsies as a routine screening in detecting cancer or other rare diseases and in establishing Prognosis? Is it possible that with the advent and advancement of new technologies such as NGS and the drop in cost in sequencing an entire genome may prove that DNA analysis can simply act as a screening test? Would the stringent medical reimbursement poses a challenge to the clinical community in offering such a test?

What are your thoughts?


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