When we are sick and see our doctor, a blood test is often the best way for him or her to make better decisions on how to manage our disease and prescribe the right medicine. There are more than 4,000 different diagnostic tests available, each one of which uses specific biomarkers to indicate the best treatment. Every year there are more than seven billion such tests performed in the U.S.
Great progress has been made both in understanding diseases, and finding their causes. Through a new generation technologies, disease-specific biomarkers can now be secured from the patient in a simple, risk free, and painless manner. For example, in some diseases such as leukemia or multiple myeloma, disease-specific biomarkers are currently obtainedf from painful bone marrow biopsies. Such procedures limit the frequency of testing. With BioFuidica's technology, less painful tests such as a blood sample, can be used.This allows for more frequent testing which will provide early stage detection of disease recurrence, thus providing better outcomes for leukemia patients.
Biomarkers that have a molecular basis, such as DNA and RNA, have revolutionized diagnostic testing. Especially in the cancer area, due to the fact that cancer is a genetically based disease. Better testing methods are now available, benefiting from the evolution of the polymerase chain reaction, PCR, which allows for the detection of DNA or RNA with high specificity. This in turn started the revolution of nucleic acid based molecular diagnostics. The development of next generation sequencing, NGS, has allowed for the sequencing of the genome and the development of whole genome based diagnostics. This field, while still in its infancy, could be aggressively enabled by the use of biomarkers isolated from blood as opposed to solid tissue biopsies.
Important biomarkers, associated with disease development, have been discovered with advanced molecular tools. With this development, we are now able to use biomarkers for the precision medicine treatment of complex diseases such as cancer. For example, Circulating Tumor Cells, CTCs, released into the blood at early stages of cancer, can be used for diagnosis and treatment. Other important biomarkers include cell-free DNA, cfDNA, and exosomes. The latter are cell derived vesicles released into the blood stream. There are currently more than 400 clinical trials ongoing that are evaluating blood-based biomarkers for cancer-related diseases. These are known as liquid biopsies.