Cancer has always been a constant
thought in the back of a scientist, doctor, engineer, and regular day-to-day
citizen’s mind. That being said, there are many ways that cancer is trying to
be cured – starting with early detection and proper ways to handle a type of
disease this large. As more ways of detection are being created, more
engineering problems continue to arise including: cost, availability, ability
to recreate the procedure, turnaround time, difficulty of the actual procedure,
invasiveness, and so much more. Specifically, the Idylla system, the Integrated
Comprehensive Droplet Digital Detection, and liquid biopsy options are looking
at a way to combat these problems. Another possible way to combat cancer – lung
cancer in this case – is to use blood-based biomarkers (Mamdani,
Ahmed, Armstrong, Mok, & Jalal, 2017). Since lung cancer has expanded, strategies
to attack this fatal condition have become increasingly more important. Although
biomarkers have not been completely successful yet due to its lack of available
tissue, it still remains a reasonable possibility for cancer detection. Cancer
detection is currently being created and revised as we speak, thus making it
one of the more interesting areas to research!


Utilizing the qPCR-based Idylla
system to Detect EGFT Mutations for Lung Cancer

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            After reading this scientific
journal, it has become apparent that there needs to be more research in the
advantages and disadvantages of this Idylla system to see if it is possible to
fix the current engineering problems (Ilie
et al., 2017). Currently, the goal of the Idylla system is to
detect already known mutations in 18 patients to see if it can create a more
reliable and fast acting lung cancer test.

            Although the Idylla system has
multiple advantages, there are also a multitude of problems that could be fixed
to make the system work better. These changes include: making a way to utilize
larger tissue samples with it still continuing to be noninvasive, making the
turnaround time faster – thus, decreasing competition between laboratories and
institutions, decreasing the cost, making it more user-friendly and not
requiring technical nor medical expertise, and dealing with the economic issues
of reimbursement of the tests. As I stated earlier, there are a multitude of
problems but the most crucial issues are invasiveness, turnaround time, and the
price. These are all issues because it really limits the patients that can
utilize this new system because it may take too long or be too expensive. The
Idylla system has a lot of positive feedback so far and fixing these issues
could revolutionize lung cancer detection.

            Even though this article is very
recent, researchers are already developing ways around these problems so that
the Idylla system can become more public. Possible solutions include designing
new technologies to target the tumor zones better that are also in closer
proximity to each other to create better turnaround time (less than three
hours!). Current testing will expand into pathology labs to make them more
reliable and fast acting.


Using the Integrated Comprehensive
Droplet Digital Detection tool to detect Sepsis

            Although sepsis is not a type of
cancer, it can be directly linked to cancer and can cause serious fatal
illnesses, thus creating an extremely high mortality due to the inability of
detection (Kang
et al., 2014). Therefore, the need is to find a way to quickly
detect and identify a blood stream infection caused by bacteria – in the early
stages of infection.

            Since sepsis is such a fatal disease
along with cancer, it requires adequate time and care, but if there are medical
challenges in the way – this can cause a multitude of issues. These problems
include high mortality, inadequate treatment that later causes antibiotic resistance,
too long of a turnaround time, poor specificity, and a high background signal
as well. All of these engineering problems limit the detection of blood stream
infections, which therefore limits the detection of cancer and increases
mortality. Utilizing the Integrated Comprehensive Droplet Digital Detection
tool (IC3D) could reduce the amount of medical challenges and increase
widespread use of the IC3D.

            Cancer detection should be at the
top of the radar to improve upon; therefore, explaining why researchers are
trying to create a system to specifically detect bacteria from scarce amounts
of diluted blood. The goal of this is to make it one-step, timely, and
culture-free. This would allow for more absolute data with a larger range of
concentrations – leading to more advanced technologies to thus further improve
cancer detection in the long run.


Detection Challenges with Lung
Cancer Circulating Tumor Cells

            Along with many new possible cancer
treatments, liquid biopsy is becoming a more appealing option due to its noninvasive
and ease of procedure (Ilie
et al., 2014). That being said though, there still needs to be
adoption of using the liquid biopsy as a diagnostic technique in cell lung
cancer. Liquid biopsy needs to be clarified, controlled, more inexpensive, and
needs to be focused on more in order to spread its capabilities.

            The issue with spreading the liquid
biopsy is that there are a multitude of ways to do a liquid biopsy – so there
needs to be research on which is the best method to do the procedure, there are
also an array of biomarkers, it is difficult to control the procedure in the pre-analytical
phase, it costs too much, and yet again, the turnaround time takes too long. If
these engineering problems got fixed then the detection of lung cancer could do
a full 360° change. Liquid
biopsies are a great approach in theory, but it needs to be tested more for it
to possibly surface into daily practices. This article goes very in depth with
the liquid biopsies advantages and disadvantages, showing that there is
interest in the field – research just has to get done.

            At the heart of the issue, the main
solution is to just do more studies so that the liquid biopsy can have its
ultimate optimization. Not only does it need to continue to go through the analytical
phase, but it also has to go through many tests to be commercialized. There is
a large gap currently between attraction in the media and the actual
application to hospitals – so therefore, cost, ability to recreate, and
usefulness needs to be researched!


            When identifying three different
cancer detection methods and their corresponding problems, it became apparent that
many of the problems are very repetitive and that there should be a stronger
focus on those aspects and how to fix them. Using PubMed, information was
presented about the Idylla system to detect a specific EGFT mutation for lung
cancer (Ilie
et al., 2017), the Integrated Comprehensive Droplet Digital Detection tool
to detect early stages of sepsis and cancer (Kang
et al., 2014), the liquid biopsies that are being researched to
attack lung cancer tumor cells (Ilie
et al., 2014), and blood-based biomarkers for the combat of lung
cancer (Mamdani
et al., 2017).

these articles need to be trustworthy and reliable, they had to be
peer-reviewed – to check this required some light research: beginning with
finding the main article’s company and finding their sites information and
policy on peer-reviewing, luckily all of my articles were peer-reviewed,
revealing that they are more reliable. That being said, there are lots of other
sources that are not peer-reviewed but are still reliable including: government
sites, in-person interviews and lectures, or other trustworthy organizations.
These specifically are reliable due to the fact that they tend to be first-hand
information, but it is normally appropriate to get information from these sites
for more knowledge on the topic rather than solid concrete data like the ones
presented above.

completing the entire assignment, the best solution seems to be involved with the
final article looked at – liquid biopsies in lung cancer, due to the fact that
they did not specifically say that they plan to do this, this, and this. They kept
it broad and mentioned that not all research is successful, so the plan is to
just continue to do more studies until there is something useful. (Ilie
et al., 2014). Since this was published in 2014, if there was a follow-up
article, it is most likely that there has already been successful research and that
they have continued to move forward. Research usually leads to more research,
so the fact that they embraced this seems to be the most realistic solution!




M., Butori, C., Lassalle, S., Heeke, S., Piton, N., Sabourin, J. C., et al.
(2017). Optimization of EGFR mutation detection by the fully-automated
qPCR-based Idylla system on tumor tissue from patients with non-small cell lung
cancer. Oncotarget, 8(61),

Ilie, M., Hofman,
V., Long, E., Bordone, O., Selva, E., Washetine, K., et al. (2014). Current
challenges for detection of circulating tumor cells and cell-free circulating
nucleic acids, and their characterization in non-small cell lung carcinoma
patients. What is the best blood substrate for personalized medicine? Ann Transl Med, 2(11), 107.

Kang, D. K., Ali,
M. M., Zhang, K., Huang, S. S., Peterson, E., Digman, M. A., et al. (2014).
Rapid detection of single bacteria in unprocessed blood using Integrated
Comprehensive Droplet Digital Detection. Nat
Commun, 5, 5427.

Mamdani, H., Ahmed,
S., Armstrong, S., Mok, T., & Jalal, S. I. (2017). Blood-based tumor
biomarkers in lung cancer for detection and treatment. Transl Lung Cancer Res, 6(6), 648-660.