Liquid-biopsy technology bloomed about two years ago on the discovery that tumors and cancers can send their genetic waste material down the bloodstream. Today, the liquid-biopsy field, mainly centered in the San Diego area, has risen to $100 million and could skyrocket to $12 billion if the expectation becomes reality. The expectation is that liquid biopsies are more accurate than tissue biopsies. Biocept (BIOC) has patented molecular diagnostic technology that uses an antibody to detect circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in the bloodstream, an amazing analytical process that allows them to find one cell in millions, which is like finding a needle in a haystack. When the CTC is analyzed this way it can help patients vary or modify their therapies and make their bodies more resistant.
Another reason that liquid biopsy is very practical is that blood is not in short supply, whereas finding usable tissue for testing can be an issue. In 2010, the International Working Group on Multidisciplinary Lung Adenocarcinoma Classification estimated that only 57 percent of such biopsies had sufficient tissue for genomic analysis after initial pathology diagnosis and staining. Using a liquid biopsy is less intrusive and more accurate because it tells a doctor and patient what is happening to the body in real time. The liquid biopsy is really gaining traction in the clinical world and is shedding its stigma of an academic diagnostic and not one for mainstream physicians.
In a recent lung cancer study, Biocept’s liquid biopsy platforms detected EGFR mutations in plasma with 93% agreement to tissue biopsies done. The study’s authors Dr. Veena Singh M.D. and Dr. Lyle Arnold praised the accuracy of Biocept’s detection accuracy. "The results of this study further demonstrate the ability of Biocept's liquid biopsy platforms to detect the presence of key cancer-associated biomarkers, which can be used in aiding medical decision-making," said Singh. "In this study we compared the results from our Target-Selector™ using blood samples against tissue samples from 74 patients with lung cancer and found concordance of greater than 93%. This high rate of concordance further underscores the value of using our liquid biopsy platforms in lung cancer patients."
The good news is that last year Biocept entered into a plan with Multiplan Inc. to give more than 99 million healthcare consumers access to the company’s blood-based diagnostic services. This is good news because many tissue biopsies for lung cancer don’t give doctors the answers they need. Biocept could change all of that.
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