Bengaluru: Currently, oncologists rely on two main techniques to detect tumours - tumour biopsy and PET/CT scan, which do not give enough power for oncologists to study the tumour mutation and traces of cancer cells in case of a relapse.
However, a city-based global genomic profiling and bioinformatics company, Strand Life Sciences, might have an answer to help increase the success rate in the disease management. Speaking about the Liquid Biopsy test portfolio called 'STRAND LB', Dr Ramesh Hariharan, CEO, Strand Life Sciences, said, "In this test, only a few ml of blood from the patient can help oncologists see the burden of the tumour inside the body. Just like any other blood profile, this test helps see the presence of tumour mutation, if any, in the blood and can also help oncologist understand how the tumour is reacting to a specific treatment and help customise the cancer treatment accordingly for different patients."
He said that one can detect the cancer several months before what a PET/CT Scan can show as many cancers are not clinically visible in PET/CT Scan. "This test works across all cancer types. Tumour monitoring can be achieved in a more personalised way through this," he said. Some 125 patients in the country have been included in the validation coming from centres like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Cancer centre and Tata Memorial Hospital. However, detecting tumour DNA requires a highly sensitive test capable of detecting 1 molecule in a 1000. "Our study on patients spanning a wide variety of cancer types - including lung, colorectal, breast, and bladder - shows that STRAND LB can detect tumour DNA traces in as many as 35% of patients with early-stage cancer, going up to 70-90% in patients with locally advanced or metastatic cancer. These figures are at par with the best in the world," said Dr Vijay Chandru, Chairman and Managing Director, Strand Life Sciences. The test would cost lesser than what a PET/CT Scan would cost a patient, said Dr Hariharan.
"Innovations like Liquid Biopsy are huge breakthroughs in cancer detection and management. India needs such pioneering innovation in healthcare to foster early detection which can be of great help in bringing down the non-communicable disease burden," said Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon.