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Recommendations for Equitable and Widespread Implementation of Liquid Biopsy in Cancer Care

A recently published article by the BLOODPAC Consortium details the potential of liquid biopsy in the management of cancer and highlights the barriers to adoption, particularly in underserved populations. 

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and imposes significant financial and psychological burdens on individuals and communities. The impact of a cancer diagnosis is further amplified by social determinants of health.

Precision medicine has emerged as a transformative approach in cancer care, utilizing novel technologies to improve risk assessment, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring.

Liquid biopsies are an emerging tool for identifying targetable variants within a patient's tumor, guiding treatment decisions, and improving outcomes through simple and less invasive blood draws. However, to facilitate equitable access to this technology, it is crucial to address barriers and mitigate disparities.

 

The publication discusses 5 key points regarding the use of liquid biopsy technologies in the management of cancer:

1. The role of liquid biopsy technology: Liquid biopsy tests, which detect circulating tumor cellular components in the bloodstream, have the potential to improve cancer care for all patients. They can guide treatment choices and monitor cancer recurrence. Ongoing research also explores their use in multi-cancer early detection.

2. Potential to reduce disparities: Liquid biopsy offers an opportunity to reduce disparities in outcomes for underserved populations. By improving access to screening, diagnosis, and treatment, it can help bridge the gap in healthcare disparities.

3. Barriers to accessing liquid biopsy: There are challenges in ensuring widespread access to liquid biopsy across all populations. These barriers include awareness, cost, reimbursement, infrastructure, and regulatory considerations. Overcoming these obstacles is essential to facilitate equitable implementation.

4. Barriers specific to underserved populations: Underserved communities face additional barriers to accessing liquid biopsy. These may include limited healthcare resources, lack of education and awareness, language barriers, and socioeconomic factors. Addressing these specific challenges is crucial to ensure equitable access for all patients.

5. Opportunities for collaboration: Stakeholders, including healthcare providers, policymakers, researchers, and patient advocacy groups, must collaborate to address barriers to access. Recommendations include increasing education and awareness, advocating for equitable reimbursement policies, improving infrastructure, and promoting research to address disparities.

 

The authors concluded that liquid biopsy has the potential to transform cancer care and reduce health disparities. However, to facilitate equitable and widespread implementation, it is crucial to address the barriers to access faced by both the general population and underserved communities.

By collaborating and implementing specific actions, we can overcome these challenges and enable all patients to benefit from the advancements in liquid biopsy technology.

Read the full article in JCO Precision Oncology.

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Staff
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Thermo Fisher Scientific Staff


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