Detecting cancer sooner through liquid biopsies

03 January 2018

Research into liquid biopsies holds a lot of promise for cancers like lung, brain and pancreatic cancersCarol Gething knows a lot about overcoming odds. After surviving a heart attack in 2007, tests revealed even more frightening news - she had lung cancer.

Carol had surgery to remove half of her left lung and completed radiation treatment twice since that time, after her lung cancer returned in 2012 and again in 2014. After facing this hard-to-treat cancer three times in seven years, she knows first-hand the need to invest in lung cancer research.

CCS-funded researchers are making great advancements in helping improve how cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated. One emerging area of study is looking at early cancer detection through liquid biopsies. Liquid biopsies can look for signs of cancer in blood or other bodily fluids more quickly than tissue biopsies that typically detect cancer at a later stage. When cancer is found earlier, treatments are usually less invasive and more effective. Research into liquid biopsies holds a lot of promise for cancers like lung, brain and pancreatic cancers, which are often diagnosed at later stages, and it has the potential to save many lives and improve the quality of life for those affected.

“The only way to overcome cancer is through research. If liquid biopsies were available when I was diagnosed, I might have caught it earlier and my quality of life would likely be much better today,” explains Carol. “Thanks to the progress of research, I’m confident that other lung cancer patients won’t have to suffer as much as I did and will be able to live with fewer side effects.”

To learn more about innovative research such as liquid biopsies, visit Research Horizons - an online newsroom that focuses on international research efforts and breakthroughs. The website is generously supported by Merck.