US-based medical technology company Epic Sciences has introduced a liquid biopsy test to identify cancers that are affected by poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.
The test is conducted by identifying circulating tumour cells (CTCs) affected by homologous recombination deficiency (HRD), which is a damaged DNA repair mechanism.
Epic Sciences translational research and clinical affairs vice-president Ryan Dittamore said: "Remarkably, utilising this non-invasive blood test, we found that 30% of a cohort of 196 advanced prostate cancer patients harbored CTCs with the HRD biomarker.
"That is double the incidence as described through traditional genomic approaches."
Data submitted by Epic Sciences and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre has stated that the new test can identify a tumour cell’s HRD status by analysing its protein expression and cellular morphology, independent of genomic sequencing.
A study has screened an initial cohort of 597 CTCs by both imaging and single cell sequencing to detect genomic affecting characteristic of HRD.
It has exhibited differences in cell size, morphology, and texture differences between CTCs with germline BRCA mutation alterations and CTCs without HRD alterations.
A total of 6,973 CTCs from 196 patient blood samples received prior to a therapeutic intervention have validated the HRD imaging algorithm.
Epic Sciences CEO Murali Prahalad said: "We are in a great position to identify patients who are likely to respond to PARP inhibitors who would normally have poor outcomes on standard of care therapies, all through a non-invasive blood test that can be performed in the time frame required to make therapeutic decisions."
The benefits of the test are a reduction of cost and a faster identification of patients within one week of a blood draw.
Image: CTC classification using ViewRNA for multiplex. Photo: courtesy of Ryan Jeffs via Wikipedia.