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Blood test for brain tumours

US researchers are developing the means to detect tumour biomarkers through a simple blood test, avoiding invasive surgery.

A team of engineers, physicians and researchers has developed a groundbreaking, proof-of-concept technique.

It allows biomarkers from a brain tumour to pass through the tough blood-brain barrier into a patient’s blood using non-invasive focused ultrasound and tiny bubbles, potentially eliminating the need for a surgical biopsy.

Researchers had previously learned how to send a drug through the blood-brain barrier into the brain via the bloodstream. But, until now, no one had found a way to release tumour-specific biomarkers – in this case, messenger RNA (mRNA) – from brain to blood.

Hong Chen, a biomedical engineer, said: “Our... technique may make it possible to perform a blood test for brain cancer patients.”

go.nature.com/2I999W4

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