The process involved here - known as liquid biopsy - makes use of cell-free nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, which are released into the bloodstream as a result of cell death or active secretion and circulate there before being filtered out of the blood again by the spleen, liver and kidneys. Tumor cells also release DNA fragments that are referred to as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). It is precisely these fragments that can be isolated in the blood of cancer patients. Performing a molecular analysis on these fragments allows scientists to identify tumor-specific mutations and draw conclusions about the prognosis and progression of a cancer. Follow-up investigations can also be carried out using tumor-based blood analysis - and all without the invasive processes of conventional tumor biopsies and the associated risks and costs. Since tumors are often heterogenous in terms of their structure, tissue biopsies do not necessarily provide representative results, even despite the additional surgery that they involve for patients.
GATC Biotech has decades of experience in the sequencing of nucleic acids. Now, thanks to the continuous advances in genome analysis, the company is setting its sights on becoming the first service provider in the world to offer blood-based tumor characterization and monitoring for clinical research. GATCLiquid is available in three different versions designed to achieve different objectives: GATCLIQUID ONCOEXOME creates a comprehensive profile of all mutations present in the exome, GATCLIQUID ONCOPANEL focuses on therapeutically targetable mutations for liquid biopsy samples and finally GATCLIQUID ONCOTARGET is used to monitor selected tumor-related mutations.