Cell-Free DNA (cfDNA) and Circulating tumor (ctDNA): A Potential Way of Detecting Cancer
In 2020, cancer was among the top reasons causing deaths of patients worldwide, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). With several people dying from colorectal, lung, breast, and several other cancer types daily, researchers claim to have found a better way of scanning and treating cancer diseases in the early stages, using cell-free DNA (cfDNA).
In this article, we’ll learn about cfDNA and how it helps experts in treating and diagnosing cancers.
What is cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and its use in cancer treatments?
Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) refers to a type of non-encapsulated DNA in the human bloodstream. A smaller portion of cfDNA originated from the tumor clone known as circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).
cfDNA is a type of nucleic acid that enters the bloodstream of humans during necrosis and apoptosis. Generally, these cfDNA fragments get cleaned up through a method called macrophages. In case of getting a diagnosis of cancers, the patient’s body leads to the over-production of cfDNA cells.
These cfDNA fragments stay for nearly two hours in both the last stage and early stage of the cancer diseases and let the experts easily scan them for taking the fast actions.
How does ctDNA help in managing and diagnosis of cancer?
Circulating tumor or ctDNA is present in the human bloodstream and is the DNA that comes into the body from cancer tumors and cells. As the cancer tumors grow, old cells keep on getting replaced by stronger new cells.
The dead ctDNA is broken down into smaller pieces, and is released into the patient’s bloodstream.
The ctDNA quality varies for every individual and is mainly dependable on the tumor type, their location in the body, and the stage of cancers. Detecting circulating tumors (ctDNA)can be helpful in the following cases.
- It helps in the detection and diagnosis of cancer tumors. It is because this tumor has different genetic changes resulting in the development and growth of tumors. Diagnosing the cancer tumors using the way of ctDNA can help in reducing the requirements of getting the tumor tissue samples, which is a high challenge when cancer tumors are not able to be accessed, like the presence of tumors in the lung and brain.
- It helps in the proper guidance of the treatment for specific cancer tumors. With the help of a proper understanding of tumor cells, doctors can get a better idea and choose appropriate treatments using ctDNA methods.
- It can help in the better monitoring of the treatments. As the ctDNA cells in the patient’s body decrease, it suggests to doctors that the size of the tumor is shrinking, and the treatments were successful.
- Circulating tumors (ctDNA) help to monitor the human body for a long time and check the symptoms. If the quantity of ctDNA has not increased in the bloodstream of patients, it means cancer cells are no more returning.
Market Insight of Cell-free DNA Isolation and Extraction Market
The demand for cell-free DNA isolation and extraction tubes, kits, and several other consumables has been witnessing huge growth over the last few years. The key reason for such massive growth of cell-free DNA isolation and extraction market is due to the increasing number of cancer patients and the rising initiatives by the governments for the welfare of the people.
As per the BIS research market studies, in 2020, the global cell-free DNA isolation and extraction market were valued at $169.9 million. Now, the market value is projected to witness high growth and touch $735.1 million by 2031. The market is supposed to grow with a CAGR of 14.19% during 2021–2031.
The global cell-free DNA isolations and extraction market are full of well-established and newly emerged companies. Several companies are trying to sustain themselves in the competitive market by launching several new products.
There are also several challenges being faced by the companies, hampering the growth of the cell-free DNA isolation and extraction market. Those challenges include high costs of the automated devices, protection of the genomic data, and rigid standards for the regulatory purpose.
Cancer is among the most dangerous diseases that have taken the lives of several people worldwide. With the adoption of cfDNA and ctDNA concepts, doctors can get a better idea of the treatments and easily detect the presence of cancer in patients in their early stages. The adoption of cell-free DNA devices and equipment by the healthcare sector will help doctors in saving millions of lives by choosing the appropriate way of treating cancers.
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