How Liquid Biopsy Can Revolutionize Medical Diagnostics

 
Detecting malignant cancer cells in very early stages in order to provide treatment long before tumours spread across the body is something patients, doctors, and public health officials have been looking forward to for a long time. A novel diagnostics technique might make this dream come true and save millions of people from one of the deadliest diseases known to humanity. In the late 1990s Dennis Lo, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, discovered traces of a foetus’s DNA in the mother’s blood, an unexpected and groundbreaking discovery. The potential of this finding did not elude him and he worked tirelessly for one-and-a-half decades to prove his theory, ultimately leading him to a new kind of non-invasive prenatal diagnostics that has immensely reduced risks for both mothers and their unborn children. It turned out that the same technology holds even greater potential, since the so-called “liquid biopsy” has capabilities far beyond prenatal diagnostics. Today, Dennis and his team use it to successfully screen patients for nascent-stage cancer, identifying the disease before it starts to do harm. At Falling Walls, Dennis explains how liquid biopsies have the enormous potential to reduce costs for health systems and ultimately to save lives on a massive scale.

Dennis Lo

Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dennis Lo, director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and Professor of Chemical Pathology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, discovered in the mid-1990s that a baby’s DNA can be found in the mother’s blood. He then spent the next decade-and-a-half trying to translate his findings into clinical use, a time during which he developed a ground-breaking new method of non-invasive prenatal diagnostics that revolutionised screening tests for Down syndrome and other genetic conditions, affecting millions of pregnant women. Dennis’s current work focuses on a technique called “liquid biopsy” which helps in detecting head and neck cancer, and other cancers from a drop of blood – even before symptoms arise. His ultimate goal is to create a blood test that finds multiple types of cancer while the disease is still curable.

More Breakthroughs

All Breakthroughs

Further Activities to have a look at

We use cookies and other technologies to collect data about your use of our site and about your browser, device and location. We process this data to help us understand how the site is used and to personalize our content and the advertising you see on this and other sites we also share this data with advertising, social media and analytics partners for the same purposes. By choosing “Accept All” you agree that we store cookies on your device and process the data for the aforementioned purposes . You may revoke your consent at any time by choosing the respective settings. For more information on the processing of personal data and what specific services we use see our Privacy Policy

Privacy Preference Center

We use cookies and other technologies to collect data about your use of our site and about your browser, device and location. We process this data to help us understand how the site is used and to personalize our content and the advertising you see on this and other sites we also share this data with advertising, social media and analytics partners for the same purposes. By choosing “Accept All” you agree that we store cookies on your device and process the data for the aforementioned purposes . You may revoke your consent at any time by choosing the respective settings. For more information on the processing of personal data and what specific services we use see our Privacy Policy

Necessary Cookies

These cookies are required to provide you with our site and its functions. Since storing these cookies is necessary for the provision of our site and its functions, you cannot disable them. If you block these cookies via you browser settings our site may not function properly.

Analyse Cookies

These cookies enable us to use website analytics in order to improve our site or provide you with personalized content. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages.

Marketing Cookies

These cookies enable us to use online marketing and advertising in order to provide you on this or on other sites with personalized advertisement. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages.