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Australian Cancer Center Accredited for ddPCR, Methylation Testing

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute in Melbourne announced today that it is the first Australian facility to receive accreditation to perform mutation detection using the Bio-Rad droplet digital PCR system.

The institute's Translational Genomics and Epigenomics Laboratory will now use the QX200 platform from Bio-Rad — which received CE IVD marking earlier this year — with a particular interest in quantifying mutations present in liquid biopsies. The institute has also been accredited to perform DNA methylation analysis of tumors, including an assay for BRCA1 methylation.

The accreditation comes from the National Association of Testing Authorities, or NATA, and is comparable to CLIA or CAP certification in the US.

Methodologies that can detect and quantify mutations present at low copy numbers "can directly influence patient management and outcome," Alexander Dobrovic, Head of the Translational Genomics and Epigenomics Laboratory, noted in a statement.

Dobrovic was part of a team that recently developed an analysis and visualization software tool called Methpat to summarize and visualize DNA methylation results from massively parallel sequencing of bisulfite converted DNA. He also co-authored an evaluation published last month confirming that a polymorphism in the FCGR2A gene predicts drug response to the EGFR inhibitor cetuximab (Erbitux) in colorectal cancer patients who are wild-type for KRAS.

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