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DiaCarta Receives $300K NCI Contract to Develop Cancer Radiation Response Dx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Molecular diagnostics company DiaCarta announced today that it has received a $300,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research contract from the National Cancer Institute to develop its RadTox QuantiDNA diagnostic into a commercial test for monitoring radiation response in cancer patients.

The company — which has clinical labs in the San Francisco Bay area and in Nanjing, China — will collaborate with the University of Florida Health Cancer Center to validate RadTox QuantiDNA as a test for monitoring circulating free DNA (cfDNA) in patient plasma during radiation therapy. The company will use blood specimens from patients undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer at the UF Davis Cancer Center and the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Once the test is fully validated, the company plans to pursue regulatory approval to sell it globally.

There doesn't currently exist a reliable methodology for determining radiation response during radiotherapy, DiaCarta added.

"This will be a breakthrough 'first-in-class' IVD test in the field of radiation therapy and the first cfDNA test to be supported by the NCI for real-time detection of tumor and normal tissue responses to radiation," said DiaCarta CEO Aiguo Zhang in a statement. "Radiation treatment is required by 70 percent of cancer patients. However, despite decades of advances in cancer care and technology, there remain many fundamental challenges affecting safe and efficacious delivery of radiation treatment. Our QuantiDNA test has the potential to overcome these challenges."