A California-based biotech company raised $360 million to fund a new early warning system that could detect cancer with a simple blood test.
Guardant Health raised the funding for Guardant360, a blood test that measures genetic biomarkers for tumors, or a “liquid biopsy.” The blood would detect “circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA),” tiny bits of DNA a tumor releases in the blood stream at it grows. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, ctDNA tracking is a less-invasive and safer alternative to a tumor biopsy.
The ctDNA can often be used to detect cancer as it’s growing, increasing the chances it’s caught early. The World Health Organization says early detection of cancer “greatly increases the chances for successful treatment.” Guardant, however, is attempting to gather even more information from the ctDNA, such as how cancer responds to certain treatments.
Guardant hopes to use the money to sequence one million cancer patients over the next five years, which would help the company gather more data on ctDNA to improve early detection.