1. Genetic Test for Early and Minimally-invasive Detection of Cancer Recurrence
Liquid biopsies that use samples of blood or other bodily fluids have been getting attention recently as a minimally-invasive technique for detecting cancer. Unlike biopsies that use an endoscope or needle to obtain tumor-tissue samples, liquid biopsies detect a tumor-derived, tiny amount of genes present in blood. As tumor-derived genes have small mutations compared with normal genes, a highly-sensitive method is required for detecting these genetic mutations.
To satisfy the requirement, Hitachi has developed a technique that combines digital polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for quantifying particular genes with high sensitivity and melting curve analysis for identifying gene mutations. Sample are divided into a large number of microwells for gene amplification, and then the fluorescence intensity and melting temperature of each microwell are measured.
Hitachi has also demonstrated that the technique can be used to simultaneously detect multiple small genetic mutations of tumor-derived genes in blood with high sensitivity. The technique enables early and minimally-invasive detection of cancer recurrence, and is applicable to the identification of suitable drugs and the early assessment of treatment efficacy based on the type of mutation.