Currently showing: Funding longer lives > Health/medicine

22 Feb 17 07:48

A great new cancer diagnostic tool with the misnomer of "Liquid Biopsy" is entering clinical practice. It promises to better characterise cancer genomes and could potentially detect cancer earlier. It's the long awaited genome analysis tool that could help personalised medicine to succeed.

When I first heard about liquid biopsy, I thought it was an enhanced cancer biopsy like a needle biopsy. Then I realized this isn't an actual "biopsy" at all, but rather a very sophisticated molecular blood test.

In recent years, genome analysis tools have become so sophisticated that we can now detect a single circulating tumour cell in a blood sample. This by itself is an amazing achievement, but on top of that, we can now also create a full molecular profile of that microscopic single cancer cell. This means doctors can get a closer look at what is going wrong in the cancer, which in the end helps to determine the best way to fight it.

This non-invasive approach is therefore a great new hope and promise for personalised cancer therapy strategies. It can help test how well a therapy is working, monitor if there is any resistance to treatment and follow any new molecular changes to a dynamically changing tumour.

All this is great news for the patient and potential treatment, but what does it mean for insurance cancer products? How can we ensure cancer patients can benefit while carefully managing issues like anti-selection and over-diagnosis to ensure our products remain sustainable and able to provide financial security to those affected people who need it the most?

We gathered some of the leading cancer specialists and practitioners in the field to address these questions. Want to know more? Here's a link to the key facts and more in-depth commentary from our event.

What are your thoughts on liquid biopsy?

Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine

Location: Zürich, Switzerland

1 Comment

Alicia Montoya - 26 Feb 2017, 8:01 a.m.

Brilliant news! The incidence of cancer amongst my relatives and family friends has skyrocketed in the last few years. Fab to read about tools to reduce the risk / get diagnosed and treated faster and more efficiently. Bravo to science!

As for anti-selection, in my mind we need to distinguish between the risks that are behavioural (and therefore avoidable) and those that could happen to anyone (unavoidable). I believe we should use all instruments in our power (including insurance and its wealth of data about risks) to drive better behaviours where possible, but offer everyone cover for unavoidable risks.

I also believe we should pass the bill on to those responsible for carcinogenic factors and substances. From politicians to power companies and food producers, all cancer-driving factors need to be incentivised to reduce the risk. All cancer-driving agents should be made accountable and responsible.

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