Grail

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.

The Palo Alto-based firm plans to use the money to further validate its non-invasive, early cancer detection technology.

Elizabeth Mansfield, who spearheaded regulations at the agency for precision medicine and next-generation sequencing, will lead regulatory affairs at Illumina-backed Grail.

Illumina plans to speed up the process of making Grail an independent company and will no longer have representation on its board of directors. 

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The US Food and Drug Administration has new guidelines that enable some gene and cell therapies to undergo expedited review, according to the New York Times.

Using gene drives to control invasive species might be too risky, an initial advocate of the approach says.

Researchers have grown tumors in 3D cell cultures to better understand cancer, the Economist reports.

In Science this week: intellectual property experts argue patent battles such as the one over CRISPR are wasteful, and more.