Research validates efficacy of world’s first blood test for monitoring cancer treatment in real-time

For patients of cancer undergoing targeted therapy, a new blood test is a breakthrough. The blood test is distinguished that allows doctors to know if the treatment is working, within one day. Due to this remarkable trait, this will help doctors expedite the evaluation process and enable them to make adjustments to the line of treatment if required.

In fact, unlike other predecessor chemotherapies that interfere with all rapidly multiplying cells and can cause massive damage to cells, targeted medicines work exactly the opposite. Targeted medicines attack specific molecules to block the abnormal growth of cancer cells.

Meanwhile, currently, the clinical evaluation of targeted drugs primarily is dependent on either tumor volumetric imaging or invasive tissue biopsies. To expand the use of targeted drugs, a team of researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed an accurate, less invasive technology that uses liquid biopsies, thus, significantly forwards the investigation window.

The technique is the world’s first of its kind. The technique takes advantage of extracellular vesicles secreted by cancer cells, and circulates it in the blood as an indicator of effectiveness of drugs in solid tumors.

Importantly, conventional procedures such as tumor imaging are expensive and are also delayed. The effectiveness of these treatments can be gauged only after weeks. On the other hand, use of the new technique enables to directly measure outcomes of effectiveness of drugs within 24 hours of initiation of the treatment. This is presumed to significantly reduce the cost and time for monitoring of cancer treatment.

Besides this, the technique requires only a small amount of blood sample for analysis and each requires less than an hour to complete.