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Memorial Sloan Kettering, Illumina Partner on Research Studies of ctDNA

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Illumina are collaborating on research studies of circulating tumor DNA, the partners said today.

The goal of the studies is to better understand the biology of ctDNA and to inform new strategies for diagnosing and monitoring cancer with the help of ctDNA.

The studies will involve multiple cancer types. MSK will collect the samples and Illumina will analyze them for ctDNA using its sequencing technology. The partners plan to validate a ctDNA assay and to demonstrate correlations between ctDNA and cancer burden. 

According to Illumina Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Rick Klausner, the program will investigate whether invasive monitoring could be replaced with a blood test, whether ctDNA reflects the total burden of cancer clones, and how it compares to biopsies for predicting therapy response and outcome.

"The possibility of reducing the number of invasive and expensive diagnostic and monitoring procedures with a simple blood draw is a game-changer for cancer patients and for oncology," said Jose Baselga, physician-in-chief and chief medical officer at MSK, in a statement.