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Kailos Genetics, Huntsman Cancer Institute Awarded $2.4M NIH Grant to Develop ctDNA Test

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Kailos Genetics announced today that it has received a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) to develop a clinical-grade test for circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).

The grant will support research and development of a clinical-grade, minimally invasive test to monitor breast cancer recurrence in patients, the company said in a statement. Research and development for the test will occur over five years at HCI facilities and at Kailos Genetics' CLIA-certified commercial next-generation sequencing laboratory.

Monitoring breast cancer survivors is challenging not only because of a long dormancy and spontaneous regrowth of cancer cells, but also because current imaging methods to detect disease recurrence are expensive, Kailos added. Current methods also carry a risk of radiation exposure and have limited detection sensitivity for small masses and micro-metastases. They also don't provide personalized information about mutations that cause resistance to therapy.

The new test is intended to improve outcomes by measuring ctDNA to detect breast cancer tumors earlier than imaging, and also provide information about therapy resistance mutations.

“This research has the potential to make a big difference in the lives of breast cancer patients and oncologists in the coming years,” Katherine Varley, investigator at Huntsman Cancer Institute, said in a statement.