Liquid biopsy is the latest development in use in in vitro diagnostics to help prevent, diagnose and manage disease. The techniques have widespread applicability among a number of areas, notably cancer, infectious disease and prenatal testing.
Liquid biopsy involves capturing fragments of circulating nucleic acids (DNA, RNA, miRNA) which are present in the circulating blood of people with certain conditions. By using this technique, expensive and risky procedures (traditional biopsy) need not be performed.
These benefits mean that the overall market is of the scale of $6 billion.
For liquid biopsy to reach its promise, it is critical that samples are prepared consistently and in a way that maximises the nucleic acids captured from the blood sample. There is a need to increase both the quantity and quality of circulating nucleic acids isolated.
Currently, sample preparation is a largely manual process involving multiple staff and several discrete steps. This makes the process slow and can result in sample loss. On the other hand, large, expensive and high maintenance robots can be used for batch processing, but this can be wasteful and requires much preparation time.
Natantis has set out to address these problems and deliver the promise of liquid biopsy.