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HKSH pioneers the use of Droplet Digital PCR for Minimal Residual Disease detection effectively monitors treatment efficacy and detects early signs of relapse in leukaemia patients

(6 October 2022, Hong Kong) Blood cancer is one of the top ten deadliest cancers in Hong Kong with thousands of new patients every year. There are three primary types of blood cancer, including leukaemia (in acute and chronic forms), lymphoma and myeloma. Among them, acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is the most aggressive type that progresses quickly, usually develops over days or weeks at an exponential rate and deteriorates within a short span of time. The average survival rate in five years is only 30%. With today’s advanced medical technology, blood cancer can be accurately diagnosed and analysed for the type of genetic mutation through molecular genetic testing in order to determine the best medical treatment.
Regular Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) monitoring in leukaemia patients is essential for defining the response to treatment, be it chemotherapy or targeted therapies, and determining the prognosis through tracking the mutated genes. The introduction of MRD monitoring transformed the disease management in hematological cancers. Significantly, MRD monitoring is covered under new international standards for evaluating therapeutic efficacy, detecting the risk of recurrence after treatment or guiding treatment regimens such as bone marrow transplantation. HKSH Medical Group (HKSH) is the first private medical institution in Hong Kong to use the most sophisticated pathological laboratory technology in MRD monitoring - Droplet Digital Polymerase Chain Reaction (ddPCR) - to track the status of leukaemia in affected patients.
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