Faster diagnosis is a very complex landscape, of which liquid biopsies are a small part. At brainstrust, we are working on a position paper with the NCRI which will be published soon exploring this area of brain cancer research.
This article looks at the comprehensive and explorative collection published on Neuro-Oncology Advances. The collection focuses on the future of liquid biopsies for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of Glioma. Pieces from Susan Short, Paul Brennan and Dimitrios Mathios, among others, cover the changes liquid biopsies could make for the patient pathway as well as the current advances we’re seeing in this field.
Why are liquid biopsies being explored?
As Professor Susan C Short writes in her piece ‘Unmet need for liquid biomarkers and the Brain’, the current landscape for assessing how Glioma responds to treatment has many challenges. Some challenges are due to the time frame in which progression and response occur, as well as the accuracy of the techniques we employ.
Currently, our main method of monitoring progression is visual human inspection of imaging data collected from brain scans. However, availability of imaging is limited in some centres and it is also not feasible for certain brain tumour cases. This approach is also sometimes inaccurate and not refined enough for the impact it has on the lives of those living with the disease – sometimes leaving patients with unfortunate waiting times, an inability to pursue novel treatments or, in the worst case, a misdiagnosis. As a result, there is a push for a more accurate, speedy and reliable method.
Liquid biopsy is a method by which bodily fluid, such as blood, is examined and used for diagnosis. Something such as a simple blood test would allow clinicians to monitor and detect a Glioma, as the cells in your blood would store this information. This could therefore be an answer to the issues presented by monitoring progression through visual human inspection of imaging.
What are some top notes from the supplements?
Top notes from this supplement are:
The detection of a validated blood based-specific markers through a non-invasive approach, such as liquid biopsy, will not only enable clinical neuro-oncologists the opportunity to assess treatment response in real time and monitor impending disease progression and recurrence, but also identify actionable molecular targets to better stratify patients to the appropriate clinical trials.
- There is concern that the tests may perform less well in patients with early stage disease.
- Developing non-invasive techniques for diagnostic monitoring purposes could have tremendous implications, affording the opportunity to change the way clinical Neuro-Oncology is practiced.
- Development of a user-friendly web-based platform to upload molecular and clinical data extracted from liquid biopsy specimens is crucial.
- Clinical trials need to be designed where liquid biopsy is used to fill a specific gap in the care pathway, complementary to radiological or other established investigations.
- The impact for genetic markers to predict disease in a healthy population has been deemed low.
- Thus far none of the identified liquid biomarkers for patients with glioma is ready for clinical implementation, but we are working towards it.
- There are various methods of using liquid biopsies for monitoring and diagnosing Glioma to assess.
- While prospective data are currently lacking, there has been early success in recent approaches.
To conclude, the research landscape continues to explore and increase our understanding of new technologies to support the way we treat and diagnose brain cancer. Liquid biopsies would be a new tool which could be utilised in multiple areas. While some of those areas are a topic of debate regarding how the changes would impact the patient community – any tool that can offer alternative approaches which can be stratified for the community is a worthwhile and potentially field-altering venture.
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If you or someone you love is living with a brain tumour and have any questions around this latest news, or want to access support, give us a call on 01983 292 405 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our little brainstrust website which features support for children affected by brain tumour.