Natera, Inc., a company focusing on genetic testing and diagnostics to determine the likelihood for individuals that suffer from serious genetic conditions, just announced a new collaboration with the University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute.
Currently conducting the TRACERx study (Tracking Cancer Evolution through Therapy), the University College London (UCL) Cancer Institute will use Natera’s technology to detect variations in cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). The TRACERx study enrolled 840 patients with non-small cell lung cancer and aims to understand how lung cancers mutate and can ultimately resist cancer therapies, as Professor Charles Swanton, M.D., Ph.D. and Professor Jacqui Shaw, lead researchers for the TRACERx study noted, “Natera’s technology will provide a unique view into the clonal and subclonal tumor variations that we wish to track for this study.” Specifically, the TRACERx study will follow tumors’ evolution by sampling and analyzing each tumor throughout time, both before and after surgery.
Natera’s novel technology platform – massively-multiplexed PCR (mmPCR) – combined with their developed analysis algorithm allows researchers to identify with high accuracy and sensitivity point mutations and copy number variations (CNV) from cell-free DNA present in patients blood. The technology was previously validated in human diseases, such as Down syndrome (in the context of non-invasive prenatal testing, NIPT). Other applications of Natera’s technology include genetic carrier screening, preimplantation genetic testing (PGD/PGS), miscarriage testing and prenatal paternity testing.
The new collaboration will establish the power of Natera’s technology in improving cancer patients care and treatment outcomes.
Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., CEO of Natera commented on the new collaboration, “We are honored to be working with Professor Charles Swanton and Professor Jacqui Shaw in Leicester and University College of London, which have a track record of lung cancer studies in the U.K. This collaboration fits perfectly with Natera’s mission to transform how people diagnose and manage genetic disease, including lung cancer, which kills more people every year than any other form of cancer. We are pleased that Natera’s technology was selected for this landmark study, and we believe it will provide a springboard for Natera’s plans to develop and launch commercially available cfDNA-based diagnostics for cancer of the lung, breast and ovaries.”
More information on the TRACERx study can be found here.