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About Liquid Biopsy


Circulating free DNA (cfDNA) are degraded DNA fragments released to the blood plasma after diseased or normal cells die. cfDNA can be used to describe various forms of DNA freely circulating the bloodstream, including circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and cell-free fetal DNA (cffDNA), and therefore, has become a biomarker for cancer and fetal medicine. In addition, it can be used for a wide range of conditions, including sepsis, aseptic inflammation, transplantation, etc. 

A liquid biopsy is the sampling and analysis of non-solid biological tissue, primarily blood, often utilizing cfDNA as a biomarker. A liquid biopsy has unleashed the potential to track and monitor important diseases, such as cancer, in a non-invasive and more effective manner.

Extensive scientific research has shown liquid biopsy to have important advantageous properties for clinical utility (e.g., most recently 1-4). Therefore, it has been named as a top breakthrough technology that will disrupt healthcare especially for cancer by the World Economic Forum (2017) 5, Forbes (2016) 6, and MIT Technology Review (2015) 7.

Apostle MiniMax Technology

cfDNA is present in very small amounts in the blood plasma. Apostle develops a best-in-class technique, Apostle MiniMax, to efficiently capture this cfDNA from a standard blood draw, as well as other innovations in the space of liquid biopsy. We aim to improve the efficiency and accuracy of liquid biopsy, and consequently, improve the survival rate of patients. It is trusted by many of the world's most prestigious leaders in life sciences.  Its superior performance has been independently validated and verified by many academic and industrial groups. For a complete list of publications, visit here.


[About Liquid Biopsy]

  1. Liquid versus tissue biopsy for detecting acquired resistance and tumor heterogeneity in gastrointestinal cancers. Parikh et al.  Nature Medicine. 25, 1415–1421 (2019)
  2. Genome-wide cell-free DNA fragmentation in patients with cancer. Cristiano et al.  Nature. 570, 385–389 (2019)
  3. Detection and localization of surgically resectable cancers with a multi-analyte blood test. Cohen et al. Science. 359, 926-930 (2018)
  4. Sensitive tumour detection and classification using plasma cell-free DNA methylomes. Shen et al. Nature. 563, 579–583 (2018)
  5. These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2017. World Economic Forum. Jun 26, 2017
  6. Five Technologies That Will Disrupt Healthcare By 2020. Forbes. Mar 30, 2016
  7. 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2015. MIT Technology Review. 2015
Nature Communications just published a clinical study, including 2125 cancer patients, 9 cancer types, using the Apostle Minimax cfDNA technology. This study demonstrates the ability of its model to detect early-stage cancers using cfDNA, including those of pancreatic origin, with high sensitivity that is comparable to that of late-stage detection. Congratulations to this clinical research team. To date, the Apostle Minimax cfDNA technology has been used in 2 articles published in Nature Medicine, 1 in Nature Communications, 1 in Science Translational Medicine, 1 in PNAS, and over 50 scientific articles in different journals.