- Liquid biopsy is a less-invasive method to analyze non-solid tissue, most commonly blood, to diagnose and monitor cancer.
- Early data suggest focused ultrasound can amplify the presence of biomarkers, making them easier to detect and measure in the bloodstream.
- BLOODPAC partnered with the Foundation and C2i Genomics to host a virtual workshop, “New Frontiers in Liquid Biopsy: Personalized Medicine for Brain Cancer.”
- Presentation videos and a white paper are now available.
On March 30, BLOODPAC partnered with the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and C2i Genomics to host a virtual workshop, “New Frontiers in Liquid Biopsy: Personalized Medicine for Brain Cancer in Adults and Children.”
BLOODPAC is a nonprofit organization with the mission of accelerating the development, validation, and accessibility of liquid biopsy assays to improve the outcomes of patients with cancer. To do so, it leads a collaborative infrastructure that enables the sharing of information between stakeholders in public, industry, academia, and regulatory agencies.
Liquid Biopsy and Focused Ultrasound
Liquid biopsy assays analyze non-solid tissue, most commonly blood, for genomic and proteomic data in cancer patients. They are used to diagnose and monitor patients with cancers throughout the body, but to date, liquid biopsy for brain tumors has been limited by the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
BLOODPAC and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation established a partnership in 2020 to explore focused ultrasound’s potential to enhance this burgeoning field. It has been suggested that the yield of liquid biopsies in brain cancers is limited by the BBB, which prevents brain tumor markers from entering the bloodstream. Several preclinical studies have indicated that focused ultrasound can be used to open the BBB and amplify the presence of biomarkers in patients with glioblastomas, making them easier to detect and measure in the bloodstream.
A first-in-human clinical trial published in Neuro-Oncology suggested that focused ultrasound could reduce the need for invasive brain tumor biopsies and allow better monitoring of brain tumor treatment responses. Having the ability to monitor genetic and epigenetic changes with a simple blood test could also allow for improved precision medicine and guide targeted therapies along the course of a patient’s treatment.
The recent workshop addressed the potential use of liquid biopsies for patients with brain tumors.
Nir Lipsman, MD, PhD, a pioneer in focused ultrasound applications for the brain, gave a lecture on the potential use of focused ultrasound–enhanced liquid biopsies for brain tumors. Another speaker, Manmeet Ahluwalia, MD, will lead an upcoming clinical trial assessing the efficacy of liquid biopsy for recurrence monitoring of patients with primary brain cancer. The session also featured presentations by Stephen Bagley, MD, who previously presented a Foundation webinar on liquid biopsy, and Matija Snuderi, MD. Panelists Kirk Tanner, PhD, from the National Brain Tumor Society; Patrick Wen, MD, from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Lauren Abrey, MD, from Novartis; and Uri Weinberg, MD, PhD, from Novocure discussed key barriers, identified challenges, and began creating a roadmap to move the field forward.
“We are encouraged that the members of BLOODPAC want to learn more about brain tumors and how liquid biopsy could aid in the diagnosis, guide precision medicine, and provide follow-up for patients with brain tumors, especially children,” said the Foundation’s Director of Clinical Relationships, Suzanne LeBlang, MD. “Lauren Leiman, the Director of BloodPAC, provided a truly unique opportunity to convene the community and help improve the care of patients with such aggressive brain tumors as GBM and DIPG.”