LIQUID BIOPSY: A NEW METHOD FOR IDENTIFYING CANCER
Researchers from Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have developed a novel method for identifying and classifying colorectal tumors using a liquid biopsy. Although this technology is still in the early stages of development, it has the potential to be a useful tool for non-invasively identifying and tracking tumors.
The biopsy is performed by drawing blood and then, using a silicon microsieve with tiny pores, selectively isolates the circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The size of the pores doesn’t allow normal cells to be trapped, as CTCs are generally larger in size. Isolating the CTCs allows for easy DNA analysis of KRAS and BRAF mutations, indicative of colorectal cancers.
"The goal of developing this biopsy was to make something that was better, cheaper and faster than the conventional approach towards genetic testing," said Dr Tan Min-Han, team leader and principal research scientist at A*STAR.
In its initial studies, A*STAR tested the assays on 44 colorectal cancer patients and the results showed that liquid biopsy was highly accurate in detecting KRAS and BRAF mutations.in the captured CTCs. The team of scientists also said that liquid biopsies can be performed to identify other cancers.