Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) refers to all circulating DNA present in the bloodstream which may originate from apoptotic cells as a part of the natural cell turnover, from cancer cells or fetal cells. A number of studies have highlighted the utility of cfDNA analysis for genetic profiling of various types of cancer, non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), and just recently, for monitoring organ-specific damage in systemic diseases like COVID19.
Disease is defined as a state of disorder that lays the groundwork for conditions of ill health. Even the most complex disease begins with cellular imbalance, and scientists are looking to discover biomarkers that can detect the earliest signs of pathogenesis.
RNA isolation and quantification of miRNAs are gaining significance as promising methods in cancer biomarker discovery. Establishing standardized protocols for collection, sample storage conditions, and the use of exogenous and endogenous controls for normalization are all critical aspects to reliably quantify miRNA levels which can be further implemented in a clinical laboratory setting.
The National Institute of Health estimates that approximately 6 in 100 000 individuals develop brain or central nervous system-related cancers each year1. Current approaches in the diagnosis of brain cancer include CT scans, MRI and tissue biopsy. However, such techniques can be limited by tumour location and heterogeneity, and in the case of tissue biopsy, its highly invasive nature.
Cell therapy using cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) is an increasingly promising treatment for acute and congenital heart muscle injuries, including myocardial infarction (MI). The therapeutic potency of CDCs has been attributed to the cargo they secrete via exosomes and other extracellular vesicles (EVs), which act to suppress inflammatory and fibrotic processes, whilst promoting cell renewal. Unfortunately, broad clinical application of CDCs and/or their EVs is obstructed by the variability of CDC potency among wild-type populations from healthy donors.