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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

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.