A liquid biopsy is a pan cancer genomic analysis done on a sample of blood to determine the presence of cancer tumor genes and their specific types of mutation from circulating tumor DNA(ctDNA). ctDNA is free flowing DNA from tumor cells found in the blood of cancer patients.
Our Liquid Biopsy seeks out ctDNA and not CTCs(Circulating Tumor Cells) . The major reason is that cell-free tumor DNA(ctDNA) is more than 100 times more abundant in the bloodstream than CTCs. In a 10 mL blood sample, you may only find a handful of CTCs at most, whereas with cell free DNA, there are tens to hundreds of genome equivalents that make it easier to test.
Circulating cell-free tumor DNA (ctDNA) consists mainly of 166 base pair double-strand DNA fragments resulting from apoptosis and necrosis leading to release of nuclear DNA into the circulation. These fragments have a short half life in circulation, ranging from 15 minutes to several hours, due to rapid hepatic and renal clearance, thus ctDNA reflects a real-time genomic signature of the tumor.
Our liquid biopsy takes advantage of ONCOMINE - a global unifying bioinformatic resource of genetic information on cancer and related therapies. It’s based on a cancer microarray database and web-based data-mining platform aimed at facilitating discovery from genome-wide expression analyses. Gene sets can be limited to clinically important annotations including secreted, kinase, membrane, and known gene-drug target pairs to facilitate the discovery of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
Our Liquid biopsy tests for all types of genomic alterations: single nucleotide variants (SNVs), copy number variants (CNVs), fusions (re-arrangements), and insertions/deletions (indels). In addition, our test is not designed for only a specific type of cancer, but is a pan cancer test.
It is a diagnostic test as it can be used by symptomatic patients to determine the type of cancer. It can also be used to track the mutations of cancer genes as a result of resistance to medication. It is able to detect the presence of smaller tumours that imaging scans cannot catch.
Well, you can call a Liquid Biopsy as biopsy-free testing. Why? Because it is the first and only comprehensive non-invasive test for tumor sequencing that is currently in clinical use. Mention biopsy in front of a patient and watch the anxiety flicker across their face. A biopsy means pain, a potential long recovery, and an agonizing wait for results. Liquid Biopsy is the antithesis of a biopsy. It involves no pain, no recovery, and delivers results in 10 days or less. Biopsy-free tests are changing the way physicians look at a patient’s cancer in real time and giving those patients options they have never had access to before.
The results of liquid biopsies will not necessarily replace tissue biopsies but will be a pivotal additional tool. There is always going to be a role for tissue-based biopsy, as it yields information about morphology (including the microenvironment), tumor type, and possible site of origin, all from histology.