How are flow biopsies different from the traditional tissue biopsy and liquid biopsies?
A tissue biopsy extracts a piece of (hopefully) tumor tissue, which can be used to determine the type and stage of cancer. For more advanced treatments, a biopsy is often required to determine the molecular profile of the cancer and predict if that treatment will be effective.
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A liquid biopsy uses a blood sample instead of tumor tissue. Drawing blood is certainly much safer, simpler, and faster than taking tissue biopsy, but a blood sample does not contain nearly enough cancer material, and analyzing that is difficult and is often hampered by biological noise.
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Instead of drawing a blood sample, flow biopsies use medical wires inserted into the bloodstream to directly collect the cancer cells. A specialized coating captures the circulating cancer cells that flow by, accumulating many more cells over time than there would ever be in a single blood sample.
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An overview of current traditional tissue and liquid biopsy methods, with a focus on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is discussed. In order to provide the correct treatment for cancer patients, companion diagnostic tests are required by the FDA for certain medications prior to being prescribed. These tests have to be performed on a patient's tumor sample. Tissue biopsies are the gold standard method for acquiring tumor tissue, however they are highly invasive and inaccurate. Liquid biopsies are becoming more popular, but the technology still poses several limitations.
We’re always open to collaborations, such as our ongoing eurostarsTM project, where we were ranked 1st out of all the applications in 2019 call 1.