June 2016 - If breakthrough will not break through

At the J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference in January this year, liquid biopsies were mentioned as „a revolutionary blood test that can detect cancer” [1]. Currently, local media (such as Handelsblatt[2]) mention this method having a breakthrough character.


Advances in genetic science enable researchers to detect genetic mutations of cancers. Unique mutations of patient’s blood can give experts a sign of the presence of cancer. These DNA mutations can be found in cells or they are floating freely in the bloodstream. Liquid biopsies - unlike traditional biopsies involving invasive surgery - therefore rely on an ordinary blood draw.