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Weill Cornell Nabs $600K Grant for Liquid Biopsy Cancer Relapse Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – With a $600,000 grant from the Sohn Conference Foundation, Weill Cornell Medicine has launched a new project to develop liquid biopsy monitoring tests to predict the spread or the recurrence of cancer in children and adults.

The effort, called the Sohn Collaborative for Liquid Biopsy at Weill Cornell Medicine, will investigate biomarkers that predict whether cancer will spread and to which organs, with the aim of helping clinicians prevent or manage relapse at distant sites.

This type of liquid biopsy offers an attractive possibility for catching relapse at the earliest possible point, especially in children, and for monitoring for recurrence without the need for painful or dangerous invasive procedures.

According to Sohn, the effort is specifically targeting exosomes, circulating extracellular vesicles that are shed by tumor or other cells in the body and carry both nucleic acids from within those cells and proteins and other molecules present on their surface membranes.

Using the new funding, Weill Cornell professor David Lyden will study exosomes released by patients' primary tumors and those from a matched blood samples to try to uncover how these vesicles act as messengers between tumor and the organs to which the tumor eventually spreads.

Weill Cornell will also collaborate with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which will provide comprehensive genome sequencing of pediatric cancer patients in this study as part of its MSK-IMPACT program.