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UCL Cancer Institute to Use Natera Liquid Biopsy Tech in Lung Cancer Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Researchers at the University College London Cancer Institute plan to use Natera's technology to analyze circulating cell-free DNA in a non-small cell lung cancer study with the goal of understanding how the cancers mutate, adapt, and become resistant to therapy.

Cancer Research UK is funding the 840-patient study, called Tracking Cancer Evolution through Therapy (TRACERx), with additional support from the Rosetrees Foundation and UCL. Researchers plan to analyze each patient's tumor before surgery and multiple times after surgery during the patient's treatment regimen and will analyze both tumor biopsy tissue as well as circulating tumor DNA in the patient's blood.

Charles Swanton and Jacqui Shaw, professors at the UCL Cancer Institute, are lead investigators of the study and will make use of Natera's massively multiplexed PCR platform and proprietary algorithms to study both point mutations and copy number variations from cell-free blood.

The goal is to detect both clonal and subclonal variations and to demonstrate how Natera's liquid biopsy technology can be used to improve cancer patient care and treatment outcomes.

Natera CEO Matthew Rabinowitz said in a statement that the study would "provide a springboard for Natera's plans to develop and launch commercially available cfDNA-based diagnostics for cancer of the lung, breast, and ovaries."