Liquid biopsies: The next frontier in cancer?

As immuno-oncology dazzles and pharma companies race to develop new cancer medicines, a similar boom is underway to speed up and improve the detection of cancers.

“Liquid biopsies” — diagnostic tests to detect cancer biomarkers in the blood — promise a less invasive and more comprehensive way of diagnosing the amorphous disease than traditional methods, such as by tissue biopsy.

A handful of companies are currently marketing liquid biopsies, but commercial applications remain largely limited to improving treatment selection for late-stage cancers. Yet, money is flowing into the space and companies are working to broaden the potential market, pushing development into earlier cancer stages as well as into post-cancer monitoring.

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