Cell-Free Circulating Tumor DNA
Accomplished researcher Madhu Kumar has contributed to recent developments in cancer screening and diagnostics. Madhu Kumar’s work centers on cancer therapy and the applications of DNA in cancer identification.
Researchers have been in pursuit of a reliable cancer biomarker for many years. The variable and mutative nature of cancer made this difficult until a few years ago. Now, scientists are using DNA from tumors to help identify the presence of cancer faster.
As tumor cells naturally die off, they release bits of their DNA into the patient’s bloodstream. These pieces are known as cell-free circulating tumor DNA, or ctDNA. These particles make it easier to find cancer even when a biopsy is not practical.
Scientists first looked at 187 patients who had 17 different varieties of cancer. In addition to finding ctDNA mutations in some patients’ blood, researchers discovered that there is a correlation between cancer stage and ctDNA concentration. This suggests that ctDNA testing can help screen for cancer at any stage, and could help physicians monitor tumors throughout treatment.
Dr. Madhu Kumar, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a scientific advisor and consultant based in New York. One of Dr. Madhu Kumar’s areas of professional focus is molecular diagnostics, the tenants of which provide the foundation for disease risk management and genetic testing.
Our genes contain the basic building blocks of our biological functions and are passed from mother and father onto the child. Genetic testing, completed by certified professionals, assesses these genes to give patients a better understanding of their genetic background. This knowledge can come in handy in a variety of ways, from helping to diagnose diseases to singling out genetic shifts that might pass to children.
But perhaps the prime benefit of genetic testing is its ability to allow individuals to take preventive measures to monitor, screen, and make changes to their lifestyles depending on the test’s outcome. Individuals who have a clear idea of their genetic background can be prepared for potential health risks later in life.