Liquid Biopsy Opening Up New Possibilities in the Cancer Diagnostics

07 Dec 2017

Liquid biopsy is gaining traction in the healthcare and medical research as it has provided an efficient and non-invasive method of screening and diagnostic in oncology. This field is continuously unfolding new possibilities in the healthcare system. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are developing a new tool for liquid biopsy that will be able to provide doctors with a clearer picture of an individual’s disease, improving their chances of finding the best treatment. Alan Lambowitz, a professor in the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the Department of Molecular Biosciences, and his team are studying an ancient enzyme in bacteria that can be used to detect bits of genetic material shed by cancer or other diseased cells into a patient’s bloodstream. This ancient enzyme is a Molecular Cell, which detects the full range of RNAs with much higher accuracy, which, in turn, is helpful for understanding both the general profile of a disease such as cancer and specific information about its activity in a particular patient.1

The European Union is investing €6.3m into the blood diagnosis of primary breast cancer and rectal cancer. In the 4-year LIMA project, Royal Philips will lead an SME consortium that combines liquid biopsy of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This project complements the €18.3m Cancer-ID project, in which Big Pharma-led technology companies and academic researchers seek to assess the feasibility of different liquid biopsy techniques to diagnose breast and colon cancer. The Horizon 2020-funded "Liquid biopsies and IMAging for improved cancer care" (LIMA) project is focussed on increasing the accuracy of genetic and functional characterization of primary breast cancer and rectal cancer cells, harvested from blood with British Angle plc' Parsortix system. LIMA participants will combine Philips MRI know-how with cell-based and DNA-based liquid biopsy techniques to develop an integrated, clinically tested approach for personalized cancer treatment.2

ANGLE PLC announced in the second-half of November 2017 that it has entered into a collaboration with Koninklijke Philips NV to develop liquid biopsy products. Angle added that it will receive GBP 400, 000 of a EUR 6.3 million research grant that Philips has secured. Amsterdam-based Philips has chosen ANGLE's Parsortix system as its sole system for harvesting circulating tumor cells for analysis in the research collaboration, which is planned for a four-year period.3

Acknowledging the rapidly growing popularity of liquid biopsy in the healthcare market, BIS Healthcare has compiled a report titled ‘Global Liquid Biopsy Market, Analysis and Forecast, 2017-2025’. According to the market research report, the global liquid biopsy market is expected to grow over $4.43 billion by 2025.Most of the companies providing liquid biopsy tests have limited their operations to the developed markets, leaving large potential of emerging markets untapped. The countries such as China, Japan, India, Australia, and South Africa possess population with high risk of developing mutations in high numbers and offer a great opportunity for the expansion of the liquid biopsy market.


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