Researchers at the VUMC Cancer Center Amsterdam have developed a ground breaking technique that can detect different types of cancer at an early stage from a single drop of blood.
Current cancer detection methods usually rely on scans and tissue biopsies, which are time consuming, difficult and often expensive. CT scans for example can only detect relatively large tumors that are usually in advanced stages.
Ref: RNA-Seq of Tumor-Educated Platelets Enables Blood-Based Pan-Cancer, Multiclass, and Molecular Pathway Cancer Diagnostics. Cancer Cell (29 October 2015) | DOI: 10.1016/j.ccell.2015.09.018 | PDF (Open Access)
Blood-based “liquid biopsies” provide a means for minimally invasive molecular diagnostics, overcoming limitations of tissue acquisition. Early detection of cancer, clinical cancer diagnostics, and companion diagnostics are regarded as important applications of liquid biopsies. Here, we report that mRNA profiles of tumor-educated blood platelets (TEPs) enable for pan-cancer, multiclass cancer, and companion diagnostics in both localized and metastasized cancer patients. The ability of TEPs to pinpoint the location of the primary tumor advances the use of liquid biopsies for cancer diagnostics. The results of this proof-of-principle study indicate that blood platelets are a potential all-in-one platform for blood-based cancer diagnostics, using the equivalent of one drop of blood.