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Personalis, UCSF to Study ctDNA Utility in Colorectal Cancer Treatment Response Monitoring

NEW YORK – Personalis said Wednesday that it has partnered with the University of California, San Francisco to study its liquid biopsy assay, NeXT Personal, in patients with colorectal cancer.

Investigators will employ the firm's personalized residual disease and monitoring assay — currently for research use only — to discover circulating tumor DNA signals associated with treatment response and adverse events in a cohort of late-stage CRC patients receiving capecitabine in combination with Merck's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and Genentech's Avastin (bevacizumab).

Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

"Assessment of early response and adaptive resistance both critically require a noninvasive liquid biopsy-based assay that can confidently detect changes in the abundance and mutational profile of cancer cells," Lawrence Fong, leader of UCSF's cancer immunotherapy program, said in a statement.

According to Richard Chen, Personalis' chief medical officer, the company also hopes to use the study to determine optimal sample collection timing for early identification of complete response and demonstrate that this has clinical utility. The firm hopes to lay the groundwork for future interventional studies that can use early detection of response to guide "rapid changes to treatment," he said in a statement.