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Ulysses J. Balis, M.D.

To add some historical perspective to this blog entry, the term "liquid biopsy" dates back to an informal discussion at Harvard's Center for Engineering in Medicine, back in thε fall of 2004, where Mehmet Toner, Ron Tompkins and I were discussing the implications of being able to detect as few as 1 malignant cell in 10^12 events in peripheral blood. It was Mehmet, in fact, who coined the term "Liquid Biopsy" at that time. This investigative effort progressed, with very consistent returns on identifying circulating malignant epithelial cells being possible by 2006, as we hoped that we would be able to demonstrate. We ultimately reported our findings in Nature in December of 2007. Since that time, continued exploration of the topic of CTCs has demonstrated that this cell contingent is a very real component of the pathogenesis of malignant neoplasms. Thus, they represent an ideal target for further investigation, in terms of CTCs being suitable as an early warning surrogate for both primary presentation of disease as well as identifying recurrence in the setting of patients in clinical remission.

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