Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Floating Free


In a new study in Science Translational Medicine, researchers at the University of Cambridge in the UK and their colleagues describe a new test they've developed to detect cancer cells in blood samples, reports Rosie Mestel at the Los Angeles Times' Booster Shots blog. Such a "liquid biopsy" would be inexpensive and noninvasive compared to a regular tissue biopsy, but so far, it hasn't been easy to develop, Mestel says. Now, the Cambridge scientists say, their test can look for several key cancer-associated mutations at once in a patient's blood sample, and can also tell whether or not that patient is responding to treatment.

The test is also able to detect the tissue of origin of a metastasis, so that patients with tumors in more than one organ can get appropriate treatment, Mestel says. "What's more, analysis of plasma would offer a noninvasive 'whole body' look at all the cancer growing in a person's body," she adds.

Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the study here.

The Scan

Study Reveals Details of SARS-CoV-2 Spread Across Brazil

A genomic analysis in Nature Microbiology explores how SARS-CoV-2 spread into, across, and from Brazil.

New Study Highlights Utility of Mutation Testing in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Genetic mutations in BRAF and RAS are associated with patient outcomes in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, a new JCO Precision Oncology study reports.

Study Points to Increased Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots in COVID-19 Patients

An analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that even mild COVID-19 increases risk of venous thromboembolism.

Y Chromosome Study Reveals Details on Timing of Human Settlement in Americas

A Y chromosome-based analysis suggests South America may have first been settled more than 18,000 years ago, according to a new PLOS One study.