Cancer research is purposely methodical and measured. So – somewhat paradoxically – it can be difficult to keep up with the steady stream of discoveries in the literature and presented at conferences like AACR. As a developer and manufacturer of platform-agnostic NGS reference standards, we’re in a unique position to collaborate with cancer genomics assay developers, laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and other organizations invested in more precise and robust cancer tests.
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I am pleased to share findings from a newly published peer-reviewed study with foundational circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) pre-analytical and analytical testing in multiple technologies and assay chemistries. The study, “Multi-laboratory Assessment of a New Reference Material for Quality Assurance of Cell-Free Tumor DNA Measurements,” was just published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics (He, Stein et al. 2019).
As originally seen in The Journal of Precision Medicine March 2019.Targeted therapies and now recently, immunotherapies, have demonstrated great promise towards increasing response rates, as well as duration of response for cancer patients. This is often achieved by understanding biomarkers associated with therapeutic response and then stratifying patients accordingly.
One of the core aims of precision medicine is to provide a more tailored approach to disease diagnosis, therapy selection, and patient monitoring to improve the overall quality of life for patients with disease. Indeed, this aim has been at the heart of the high interest and study of the potential of liquid biopsies to improve patient care in earlier detection of cancer, treatment, and surveillance.
On the last morning of AACR 2019, I had the privilege of presenting a poster together with my colleague, Sebastian Bender from Bayer AG, in Berlin. Because of this, I didn’t have a chance to attend any talks, but I still wanted to finish out my blog series with highlights from each day of the conference.
My third day at the AACR Annual meeting was a day of phenomenal presentations. I am struggling to choose just one to tell you about because I attended multiple inspiring, thought-provoking, and even entertaining talks today. I decided to report on the plenary presentation by Steven A. Rosenberg entitled “T-cell therapy targeting unique cancer mutations” because I think this story has the most potential to positively impact patient outcomes.
At the AACR Annual Meeting, I was most excited to attend the major symposium entitled “The Microbiome as an Orchestrator of Immunity and Cancer Immunotherapy,” which featured three highly informative talks. First, Gregory Sonnenberg from Weill Cornell Medicine gave an overview of how the microbiome contributes to immune homeostasis in the intestine.
I’m excited to be at the Annual AACR meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. AACR is my favorite scientific meeting because each year I am inspired by the remarkable research presented and leave the conference feeling I’ve learned an incredible amount in just a few days.
A Featured Speaker Podcast by Friends of Cancer Research
Friends of Cancer Research aims to better understand the impact of assay variation on clinical outcomes, align standards, and define best practices for tumor mutational burden assessment. Harmonization of methods to quantify TMB will facilitate robust biomarker development and optimize clinical utilization and treatment decision-making.
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) has revolutionized how assay developers, laboratories, and clinicians are diagnosing, treating, and monitoring disease. As NGS panels grow to include an increasing number of important biomarkers, so too must the reference standards used for development, validation, and routine QC.