SAN DIEGO, Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After successive cancer therapies, multiple subpopulations of cancer cells arise, each with divergent genetic aberrations that may confer drug resistance or susceptibility. Tissue biopsies may not detect these subpopulations, but a liquid biopsy of blood using Epic Sciences' no cell left behind® technology may help identify these important tumor cells and characterize how a patient's tumors have evolved over time.
In a study that will be reported this week at the EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Boston, a patient who had multiple rounds of chemotherapy to treat advanced metastatic colorectal cancer had a few milliliters of his blood analyzed on the Epic Sciences liquid biopsy platform. The technology identified and isolated 34 circulating tumor cells (CTCs) through a proprietary combination of protein expression and morphology, and then performed single cell sequencing on every CTC identified to assess 500 cancer genes.
Epic Sciences' data revealed that 70% of the CTCs had an early MLL3 driver mutation, while several CTC subpopulations had genetic aberrations indicative of drug resistance, including in APC (12%), BRCA1/2 (8%), KRAS (6%), PI3KCA (6%) and TP53 (6%) genes. Researchers also interrogated CTCs that would not be detected in other liquid biopsies, which only assess CTCs that express EpCAM or that are sufficiently large in size. Several of these CTCs harbored driver mutations that, if known, could influence therapeutic decision-making.
"These data show that our liquid biopsy platform is capable of isolating and examining individual CTCs for genomic instability, in addition to morphology and protein marker expression associated with cancer," said Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., CEO of Epic Sciences. "Our comprehensive analysis is a departure from current tests that treat cancer as a disease of averages or ignore whole classes of tumor cells. This approach teases apart the clonality of a patient's cancer and has the potential to customize and rationally assign combination therapies that can target the disease from many different angles."
The study will be presented in a poster entitled "Single cell genomic profiling of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) identify tumor heterogeneity and rare somatic driver alterations." An additional poster by Epic Sciences entitled "Single cell genomic profiling of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in metastatic disease to characterize disease heterogeneity" shows similar data using downstream single-cell genomic analysis on well-characterized cancer cell lines. Both posters will be exhibited on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 12:15 PM ET (posters A34 and A35).
About Epic Sciences
Epic Sciences, Inc. is developing novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer. Epic Sciences' mission is to enable the rapid and non-invasive detection of genetic and molecular changes in cancer throughout a patient's journey. The company was founded on a powerful platform to identify and characterize rare cells, including circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Epic Sciences' no cell left behind® technology helps match patients to targeted therapies and monitor for drug resistance, so that the best treatment path can be chosen at every clinical decision point. Today, we partner with leading pharmaceutical companies and major cancer centers around the world. Epic Sciences' goal is to commercialize our technology to increase the success rate of cancer drugs in clinical trials and improve patient outcomes by providing physicians real-time information to guide treatment choices.
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SOURCE Epic Sciences