Using cell-free DNA found in the blood stream, a team led by Vanderbilt researchers has developed a highly accurate method for detecting prostate cancer. Through massive parallel sequencing of this DNA, the method may transform cancer diagnostics and enable real-time monitoring of patient responses to therapy. Instead of using tissue biopsies, the new method only requires a blood sample.
Cells that compose a tumor generally exhibit genetic instability when compared to their healthy counterparts. One form of this instability is called copy number variation, which is an alteration in the cancer cell DNA that occurs when an abnormal number of genes are present. Copy number variation is closely associated with cancer and is part of the cell-free DNA released into the blood when cancer cells rupture, which makes it a strong candidate for use as a cancer biomarker.
Will “Liquid Biopsies” Replace Invasive Tissue Biopsies
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