Cancer is one of the leading causes of death globally. According to the World Health Organization, over 14 million new cancer cases were reported in 2012 and over 8 million people died worldwide. In the United States, cancer kills over 1600 people every day, and accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.1
Effective cancer management depends on early diagnosis, accurate tumor staging, and consistent monitoring to prevent metastasis. However, many current diagnostic procedures are invasive, expensive and unpleasant. In multiple recent published studies, circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) concentration and integrity (fragmentation pattern), measured via high copy number retrotransposable elements (REs) of varying sizes, has shown promise as a highly accurate blood biomarker for multiple cancer types.2-3
“DNA integrity assays have the potential to become a universal blood biomarker for multiple cancers.”
RE markers are considered optimal for this application due to their superior sensitivity (multi-copy representation in the genome) and robustness. InnoGenomics has a proprietary method enabling REs of varying sizes to be simultaneously assayed in a highly sensitive and robust multiplex qPCR reaction. Utilizing this method, which leverages the same core technology optimized in our InnoQuant® kit, we are now developing a “liquid biopsy” assay to detect and monitor cancer through a minimally invasive blood test.
With funding support from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), InnoGenomics is working rapidly to develop and optimize this technology. It is expected to serve as an accurate, rapid, cost-effective test that is compatible with currently used laboratory instrumentation, as well as point-of-care systems in development.
This technology has broad implications for advancing cancer research, with the potential to complement or replace existing clinical procedures and improve cancer detection, diagnosis and monitoring capabilities. It also supports the development of more personalized therapeutic strategies that are tailored to each individual patient and their specific responses to various treatment options, i.e. “precision medicine.”
1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2015. Atlanta; 2015
2 Schwarzenbach et al., Cell-free nucleic acids as biomarkers in cancer patients. Nature Reviews Cancer 2011;(May):1-12.2011
3 Yu et al., Recent Advances in Clinical Applications of Circulating Cell-free DNA Integrity. Lab Med. 2014;45(1):6-12