Blood test key to better cancer treatment


There is hope a simple blood test represents “a new generation” of minimally invasive procedures to equip cancer patients with information to choose the best course of treatment.

Currently there is “no reliable way” to predict whether a patient will respond better to chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or “any other therapy”, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Associate Professor Andreas Möller says.

“This blood test could quickly and accurately indicate the most effective treatment for an individual patient,” he said.

The research is being developed in partnership between Brisbane’s QIMR and Swiss start-up Biopsomic.

At its heart are exosomes — tiny fluid filled sacs that are shed by tumour cells into the blood of patients.

Essentially they are “miniature blueprints of what is contained in cancer cells”, and give insight into how the cancer is likely to behave.

If the contents suggest a person’s cancer cells will not respond to a given therapy, then their clinician can explore more effective alternatives,” Associate Professor Möller says.

The research could represent “a new generation of minimally invasive, less expensive and accurate tests”, Biopsomic’s co-founder and co-inventor of the test, Dr Antoine Leimgruber MD says.

It aims to shift away from “the one-size fits all rule, to improve each patient outcome and avoid non-useful and potentially harmful interventions”.


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