AUG 30, 2017 03:26 PM PDT

Liquid Biopsy: When Blood Reveals Cancer's Story

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), also known as cell-free tumor DNA, is genetic material that's freely floating in the bloodstream of cancer patients. The source of ctDNA is the tumor, where dead tumor cells break open and release the tumor DNA into the patient's blood. ctDNA represents a non-invasive cancer biomarker that can indicate the presence of disease. And because detection requires only a blood sample, the technique of using ctDNA for cancer diagnosis is often called "liquid biopsy."

One of the biggest advantages to liquid biopsies is early detection. Because tumor DNA can be picked up in blood, patients can potentially be treated before a tumor grows. This method also allows doctors to better monitor patients for cancer progression and recurrence. In all cases, the early detection gives doctors more time to form better treatment plans for their patients.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 26, 2018
Cardiology
OCT 26, 2018
What Is Atherosclerosis Anyway
Atherosclerosis is the main contributing factor for coronary artery disease. Defined by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, atherosclerosis is a...
NOV 01, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 01, 2018
Oil Absorbing Sponge Made from Wood
  It has been eight years since the crude oil spill in the Mexico Gulf, but the shadow of aquatic petroleum contamination has never been far away. To...
NOV 15, 2018
Videos
NOV 15, 2018
A Season of Outbreaks
In a few different places around the world, people are facing disease outbreaks due to pathogenic microbes....
NOV 24, 2018
Videos
NOV 24, 2018
Bats may Hold the Secret to Longevity
Some bats can live for up to 41 years, and many have a very healthy life....
NOV 29, 2018
Videos
DEC 03, 2018
Cancer
DEC 03, 2018
Using bubbly nano-particles for chemotherapy delivery
We have all heard about the harsh side effects of chemotherapy that could be so difficult leading to stopping treatment. The reason behind those side effects is that chemotherapy drugs do tar...
Loading Comments...