5 Hours

Published in Hopkins Medicine - Fall 2022

Five hours is the window of time in which a novel, automated liquid biopsy test being developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center can accurately detect the presence of cancer DNA in the blood of patients with metastatic breast cancer.

The test, currently a prototype for research use only, potentially could be used to quickly help oncologists determine if cancer treatments are working — important since many patients with breast cancer do not respond to chemotherapy but go through multiple cycles of treatment before imaging studies can be performed to determine if a treatment is effective.

What’s more, while imaging can be effective at detecting changes in larger tumors, it is nearly impossible to identify changes in smaller tumors, says oncology researcher Saraswati Sukumar, senior author of a validation of the test, which appeared in Cancer Research Communications.

“Our goal was to develop an assay that would be sophisticated yet simple to perform worldwide and could be used at the point of care to provide same-day feedback to clinicians and patients,” Sukumar says.

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