Liquid Biopsies’ Potential Beyond Cancer

The advent of new diagnostic tools and technologies is currently reshaping the way we think about healthcare and disease. The early detection of life-threatening conditions as well as the selection of individualized treatment options for affected patients will have significant potential to disrupt our current public health sectors. Recently, alternatives to traditional tissue biopsy, such as liquid or breath biopsy, have emerged as attractive tools for the detection and management of various diseases and especially in the therapeutic area of oncology. The field is in an exciting transitional period in which these alternative tools are beginning to be applied more and more in clinical contexts and various enterprises are aiming at detecting cancer early before symptoms appear or are exploring other yet unexplored diagnostic opportunities. While cancer detection with liquid biopsy is gaining acceptance, other indications often still lack a non-invasive diagnostic test. This is despite the fact that precision medicine is viewed as an important concept in indications outside oncology as well as the invasiveness of various best standard of care diagnostic tests in several diseases or conditions. This talk highlights the opportunities of liquid biopsy beyond cancer and our efforts at Merck to address challenges in the field with new enabling technology.