A blood test for cancer?
Another big idea is what’s called a liquid biopsy, in which free bits of cancer DNA are detected via a blood test. Here at AACR, researchers from the Department of Radiation Sciences at Umeå University in Sweden used the technique to determine when patients with lung cancer would stop responding to Xalkori, a Pfizer lung cancer drug. But the implications of the test are much bigger.
Last year at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York, Richard Klausner, the chief medical officer of DNA sequencing leader Illumina and the former head of the National Cancer Institute, gave an early look at the promise of this technology.
“There’s a phenomena that we now know that tumors put out, at very early stages, their DNA into the circulation,” Klausner said. “We can now measure that with incredible precision. I think one of the biggest breakthroughs we can see in cancer in the next few years is this possibility that there could be a blood test or a urine test that detects early stage cancer.”
Many of these advances could be years away from the market. And doctors’ ardor is predicated partly on how grim things have been in the past. Even in the Opdivo-Yervoy study, 126 of 142 patients did not see their cancer vanish entirely. And even with the best studies of CART therapy in leukemia, two or three out of every ten patients are not helped, and are likely to die. But in the world of cancer research, where it often seemed that arduous research was only adding mere months to patients lives, this counts as reason for hope.
“We are in the middle of a revolution,” said Louis Weiner, of Georgetown University, at an AACR press conference about the immunotherapies. “I don’t think that is hyperbolic. Those are the kinds of observations that we’ve rarely seen in our business. What really makes it exciting is that it is not just one disease.”
Just do a search under NYT and Liquid Biopsy. I tried posting the article last night but Yahoo (in its infinite wisdom) took it down.
. . . if you have confidence in your investment either way, long or short.
I am long a few thousand shares, am patient, and will wait until BIOC breaks out until I buy more. In the meantime I will watch for important developments in the company's strategies. I do think management is moving in the right direction.
Dr. Husain is a specialist in both lung cancer as well as brain tumors. A native of California, he received his medical oncology training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD, and works diligently to better understand the molecular underpinnings of cancer to determine why it forms, how to treat cancer stem-like cells, and how best to prevent metastasis to different organs of the body including the brain.
He is working to develop novel therapies to target cancer in the brain and to prevent resistance to established therapies. He is board certified in both internal medicine and medical oncology. He enjoys educating patients about their disease and any new technologies that may be available to combat cancer.
Follow the money.
Liquid biopsies: gentler, faster and cheaper
Liquid biopsies utilise the fact that tumours and their metastases excrete tumour cells and fragments of tumour DNA, which then circulate in the blood. Since blood samples are usually not stressful for patients, and they are also easier, faster and cheaper to carry out than tissue biopsies, the establishment of liquid biopsies as the standard method would represent a milestone in the diagnosis of progression and therefore treatment of metastasised bowel cancer.
Multi-centre study led by the CCC
The new clinical study, which bears the name CRC-RELY (Colorectal Cancer Regorefanib Liquid Biopsy), is a multi-centre project led by the MedUni Vienna and is receiving active input from other hospitals in Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Says Prager: "With this clinical study, we are one of the first organisations worldwide to address the establishment of this diagnostic method. This once again highlights the fact that the MedUni Vienna and the CCC are taking their place at the top end of international oncology research."
Tumour determination in bowel cancer: blood test replaces surgery
(Vienna ) A new study at the MedUni Vienna's Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) is assessing patients with metastasised bowel cancer to determine whether it is possible to characterise tumour and better control resistance mechanisms with a blood test. The aim of this is to spare patients the stress of having tissue removed via biopsies and to make the targeted use of therapy easier.
One of the challenges of personalised medicine is the development of treatment resistance. At the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Vienna at the MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital, a study is now commencing which involves patients with metastasised bowel cancer who are undergoing a new diagnostic method, namely liquid biopsy in the form of a blood test. The aim of this new method is to spot a tumour's development of resistance early on and therefore adjust the treatment quickly and in a targeted manner.
Gerald Prager, from the University Department of Internal Medicine I at the MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital and member of the CCC, who is in charge of the new study, explains the new study in the context of international bowel cancer month, which is this March: "On treatment, tumours often change their biological characteristics. This allows them to develop resistance to the treatment being given. To detect these changes and in order to be able to respond to them with medications, regular samples of tumour tissue - or biopsies - would be needed. These are taken, for example, as part of small operations or during CT scans, however they are associated with a risk for the patient and they are stressful."
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – German MDx firm New Onclogy is planning to launch a liquid biopsy cancer mutation test this year supported by an undisclosed amount raised in a funding round this week.
An offshoot of German contract research and analytics firm Blackfield, New Oncology currently offers a targeted sequencing assay called NeoPlus, which profiles more than 70 cancer-associated genes for point mutations, gene amplifications, gene fusions, and other rearrangements using a target amplification and sequencing strategy.
The funding comes amid a string of deals for New Oncology over the last six months, including partnerships with cancer centers and university hospitals in Oslo, Singapore, and France for the clinical sequencing of cancer patients.
New Oncology Chief Scientific Officer Johannes Heuckmann and CEO Andreas Jenne told GenomeWeb this week that the firm also has additional testing agreements it hasn't yet made public.
Having witnessed how NeoPlus has improved the care of cancer patients in some of these early partnerships, New Oncology is now working toward a launch of a second offering, a blood-based sequencing assay called NeoLiquid, which will analyze patients circulating cell-free tumor DNA, by the end of this year.
The firm hopes a ctDNA test will expand access for individuals with difficult to biopsy tumors, or for those who might benefit from blood-based cancer testing after acquired therapy resistance or metastasis, Heuckmann said.
'We thought it was very exciting when we saw the changes that our assay introduces into the treatment of the patient," he explained. "So I think it is a logical concept to move that into a liquid biopsy assay to make this technology available for more patients."
Sentiment: Strong Buy
My target is $10.00, though it could be purchased before it gets there . . . in which case the cake has frosting. Liquid biopsies are one of the next big things in the treatment of cancer.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
It seems unlikely to me the shorts will take today's action lying down. I suspect we will hear from them later today, after hours, or on open tomorrow. My best guess. I'm moving from BUY to STRONG BUY.
Sentiment: Strong Buy