Back to topHeterogeneity of cancer cells prevents treatment
Tumors are heterogeneous and their cells change genetically and mutate over time (1). Chemical treatment of tumors often results in selection of cells resistant to the treatment and further growth of the resistant cells and the tumor. Examining this process is difficult and it is impractical to take the multiple biopsies that would be necessary to follow tumor development over the course of a treatment.
Back to topCirculating DNA provides a new perspective
The discovery that tumor DNA circulates in plasma promises to give new insights into the genetic makeup of tumors. In a recent study, isolation of DNA from blood samples followed by next-generation sequencing allowed monitoring of clonal evolution of tumors (2).
Back to topTreatment tailored for the tumor
Investigating tumors at the genetic level promises in future to allow physicians to adapt treatments to target the most active cells increasing the efficacy of drugs. The choice of drugs used to kill tumor cells can be changed based on the genetic evolution of the tumor over the course of the treatment.
Back to topEfficient technology concentrates DNA
Free circulating DNA is often present in low concentrations and needs to be efficiently concentrated during processing. The QIAamp Circulating Nucleic Acid Kit was designed specifically for purification of circulating nucleic acids from plasma and uses columns powered by QIAamp DNA purification technology to prepare nucleic acids in amounts and concentrations suitable for next-generation sequencing.
Back to topMaking improvements in life possible
Recently published results establish in proof-of-principle that exome-wide analysis of circulating DNA could complement current strategies to overcome acquired drug resistance in a variety of cancers (2). Analysis over time will allow examination of clonal evolution of human cancers leading to greater knowledge and eventually better and more targeted treatment.