In the next few years, it will be possible to identify cancers and determine prognosis from a simple blood analysis.

New research published in the journal, Clinical Cancer Research, shows the development of a technique allowing the identification of cancer mutations directly from the blood of patients. Fragments of cell-free DNA are released into the blood from tumor tissues. It is an incredible source of relevant clinical information such as the occurrence of new abnormalities, the progression of cancer or a new relapse. The main limitation of cell-free DNA analysis is the high cost of the analysis and a wide range of technical limitations. The authors claim that these limitations may be overcome by their new Ultra Deep NGS assay, which allows the identification of DNA variants with high sensitivity and specificity.

In addition, the study reveals that the allelic frequency of the cancer variants in the cell-free DNA may be a highly reliable prognostic marker, which could reveal response to therapies and the progression of the disease.

Although many technical challenges need to be solved, in the future, this assay may be broadly used for personalised medicine interventions.

Please have a look at the paper here.

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