Cells within the body constantly extrude DNA fragments that are representative of their genetic makeup. When a person’s body starts to develop tumor cells, the genetic makeup is altered to reflect the mutations associated with cancer.
The primary problem is that these ctDNA among the cfDNA may make up less than 0,1% of the entire cfDNA population. Therefore, detecting the ctDNA is an incredible signal-to-noise problem. We have collaborated to develop and test a new molecular biology probe that is able to detect the ctDNA fragments even if there are only 10 fragments in a sample. This unprecedented ability to detect these fragments allow us to effectively analyze and diagnose cancer.
Another bottleneck is the cost and time for sequencing. We are currently co-developing a technology that will allow us to develop an alternative sequencing method that will enable real-time sequencing (hours) and analysis of ctDNA for less than $1000.
Together, our computational and molecular biology tools will enable the most efficient, accurate and cost-effective “liquid biopsy” method of the future.