Developing diagnostics and treatments
At the Broad Institute, researchers are revealing deep biological insights about the causes of disease, which are leading to new ways to monitor, diagnose, and treat patients with greater precision. These include new tools that help predict diseases well before symptoms appear, and more effective therapeutics that reduce the chance of relapse or drug resistance.
Enabling clinicians to monitor the progress of a patient’s cancer through blood samples, rather than invasive procedures
A blood biopsy is blood drawn from a cancer patient that researchers can analyze to learn about the patient’s tumor. The approach has the potential to revolutionize cancer research and treatment. Cells in the body, including tumor cells, regularly expel fragments of DNA into the bloodstream. With blood biopsies, clinicians collect this “cell-free” DNA from a blood sample and then profile the fragments originating from the cancer cells. At the Broad Institute, researchers are developing blood-biopsy methods that allow physicians to monitor cancer recurrence, a patient’s response to treatment, and other clinically important features in real time, without the need for invasive and painful tissue biopsies.