Blood test to monitor genetic changes in cancer

08 June 2012
Posted by Kat Arney.

Scientists at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute have developed a simple blood test that could monitor the genetics changes in cancer as it grows and evolves within the body, publishing their results in Science Translational Medicine.

By analysing circulating tumour DNA - tiny fragments of DNA shed from cancer cells as they die - the researchers, led by Drs Nitzan Rosenfeld and James Brenton, showed that the test could be used to monitor the progress of cancer in response to treatment on a genetic level, including picking up new gene faults not present in the original tumour. Technology like this could prove very important as doctors move towards tailoring treatment according to the genetic makeup of a individual's tumour.

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