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The word biopsy is usually associated with the idea of a surgical procedure intended to remove a piece of tissue suspected of being diseased or malignant, and in fact, that’s usually what it is. A research team at Queensland University of Technology in Australia is changing this with the development of liquid biopsies—a non-invasive method that analyzes blood and saliva for the early detection of cancer, cancer staging, and prediction of how a patient will respond to treatment.

In addition to being more cost-effective and less invasive for the patient, this approach also eliminates the possibility of a false negative, or the retrieval of a sample of tissue that contains no cancer cells, despite it having been taken from a cancerous tumor.

Chamindie Punyadeera joins the podcast today to discuss the ins and outs of the research and development she’s contributing to, and explains how and why the liquid biopsy approach will pave the way for better, and more personalized medicine in the near future.

Tune in for all the details, and discover:

  • Why the heterogeneity of tumors makes tissue-based biopsies less accurate than liquid biopsies
  • What cell-free DNA is, where it’s found, and how it can provide valuable information for cancer patients
  • How biomarkers in saliva may be used to differentiate between patients at high risk of heart failure (such as those suffering from type 2 diabetes or obesity)