Developments in Targeted Therapies and Liquid Biopsies

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David L. Bartlett, MD, discusses some of the most recent developments that have been seen in genomic testing for patients with cancer in recent years.

David L. Bartlett, MD, chair of the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, discusses some of the most recent developments that have been seen in genomic testing for patients with cancer in recent years.

There have been significant advancements in targeted therapy and the development of small molecules aimed at specific mutations. Over 100 drugs have been approved for treating specific mutations within cancer, marking a substantial progress since the approval of imatinib (Gleevec) in 2002.

According to Bartlett, another notable advancement is the ability to detect circulating tumor DNA in the blood, which enables the identification of tumor mutations without the need for invasive biopsies. This method, liquid biopsy, offers advantages such as ease, rapidity, and reduced negative impact on patients.

Transcription:

0:09 | We continue to have great advances in terms of identifying targeted therapy and small molecules that can hit specific targets. We have over 100 now approved drugs for specific mutations within cancer. There has been an explosion of information with the first approved drug imatinib for a targeted mutation, and that was back in 2002.

0:41 | The other specific advance is the ability to identify circulating tumor DNA. DNA in the blood, we can now analyze for the same mutations that we analyze in the tumor. We know tumors shed DNA into the blood, and we can identify the tumor mutations with a blood test. That is a huge advantage. It gets around us having to do biopsies, which can have a negative impact on patients. It also just makes it a little more easy and rapid for us to get the information that we need through a liquid biopsy. While that technology is evolving, and we are still trying to understand a little more about whether the liquid biopsy accurately reflects what the tumor biopsy is, I believe that the liquid biopsies will take over in the future and be a better representation of what's going on in the tumor.

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