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Volume 545 Issue 7655, 25 May 2017

In this issue, Charles Swanton and his colleagues suggest that ‘liquid biopsies’ could be used for the early detection of a relapse after surgery for non-small-cell lung cancer. The researchers assessed the evolutionary dynamics of tumours surgically removed from participants in the TRACERx lung-cancer clinical study. They created phylogenetic trees to show how an individual’s tumour evolved and used that information as the basis for a blood test to look for circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA). This allowed the team to identify recurrence of the tumour around 70 days before it was identified in a routine clinical setting as well as providing insight into the metastatic branched evolutionary process. The results indicate how liquid biopsies might be applied in personalized medicine to improve cancer monitoring. Cover image: Jeroen Claus and Giovanni Panico/Phospho Biomedical Animation.


World View

Seven Days



News Feature


  • Comment |

    The blockchain technology that underpins cryptographic currencies can support sustainability by building trust and avoiding corruption, explains Guillaume Chapron.

    • Guillaume Chapron
  • Comment |

    Mariana Medina-Sánchez and Oliver G. Schmidt set priorities for more realistic tests of tiny machines that could be used to diagnose and treat conditions.

    • Mariana Medina-Sánchez
    • Oliver G. Schmidt

Books & Arts


News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The Hubbard model describes the behaviour of interacting quantum particles, but many of its properties remain unknown. A system of ultracold atoms could provide the key to determining the model's underlying physics. See Letter p.462

    • Thierry Giamarchi
  • News & Views |

    Haematopoietic stem cells give rise to all lineages of blood cell, and their production in vitro has been a long-sought goal of stem-cell biology. Two groups now achieve this feat through different means. See Articles p.432 & p.439

    • Carolina Guibentif
    • Berthold Göttgens
  • News & Views |

    Genomic analysis of lung-tumour evolution has been used to create personalized blood tests that enable successful clinical monitoring for early signs of cancer relapse — a promising step on the road to precision medicine. See Article p.446

    • Alberto Bardelli

    Nature Outlook:

  • News & Views |

    The neighbourhoods of extremely bright astronomical objects called quasars in the early Universe have been incompletely probed. Observations suggest that these regions harbour some of the most massive known galaxies. See Letter p.457

    • Rychard Bouwens
  • News & Views |

    Plants precisely express some immune regulators by controlling the translation of messenger RNA into protein. This insight enabled a disease-resistant rice to be engineered without compromised productivity. See Letters p.487 & p.491

    • Julia Bailey-Serres
    • Wenbo Ma
  • News & Views |

    Reliably measuring global health is a huge challenge. Four papers published in 1997 laid foundations for future global-health estimates, but, despite subsequent advances, better integration of data systems and models is still needed.

    • Peter Byass

Review Article

  • Review Article |

    The use of genetically engineered T cells in the treatment of cancer is reviewed, with particular focus on anti-CD19 chimaeric antigen receptor therapy, providing a summary of past progress and current status, and potential future directions.

    • Michel Sadelain
    • Isabelle Rivière
    • Stanley Riddell




Technology Feature

  • Technology Feature |

    Microfluidic devices filled with intricate channels that exploit fluid behaviour promise to make it easier to diagnose genetic disease.

    • Amber Dance



Career Brief

  • Career Brief |

    US science PhD programmes still attract more men than women, except in biology and agricultural sciences.



Nature Index

Advertisement Feature

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    QScience Highlights is an open access, peer-reviewed publishing platform from Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press in Qatar with a portfolio of journals that showcase research and reviews from the natural and social sciences. This supplement offers a glimpse into the diversity that boasts, by showcasing research highlights of ten of the online portal’s research articles.

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