The firm plans to launch a nasopharyngeal carcinoma test in Asia this year and is developing breast cancer tests to supplement mammograms.

Technologies gained one of their first solid footholds in the clinical care of cancer patients with adoption into the treatment paradigm of lung cancer, while researchers turned their eyes to proving utility in other niches.

There were fewer mergers and acquisitions in the omics space in 2017, breaking a two-year streak of growth — however, the deals themselves stayed fairly large.

Using Epstein-Barr virus DNA as a marker, investigators uncovered several individuals with early-stage nasopharyngeal cancers in a large screening effort in China.

Cloud Ready

CNBC reports that Amazon invested in the startup Grail as it sees an opportunity for its cloud computing company in genomics.

Though researchers highlighted their goal of using the method to move toward a test to detect early cancers, their current data speaks only to the method's performance in late-stage cancer patients.

Cirina will operate as a subsidiary of Grail and the combined entity will collaborate with Dennis Lo's lab at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 

Grail plans to enroll up to 120,000 women who have been screened via mammogram, to train and validate its NGS-based early detection cancer test.

Giant platelets on a blood smear

The approach, dubbed ThromboSeq, enables clinical researchers to identify different cancer types by looking at tumor-educated, platelet-derived RNA using RNA-seq.

Grail plans to raise a total of more than $1 billion before the end of the first quarter.


An opinion piece in the Guardian argues that President Donald Trump is uninterested in science and that might not be a bad thing for the field.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the Veterans Affairs Health System is studying whether genetic testing can help prescribe better depression therapies.

Stat News reports that Spark Therapeutics' Luxturna is now being used to treat a wider array of patients.

In Genome Biology this week: transcription factor use among brittle stars, single-cell RNA sequencing strategy, and more.