New York Genome Center
Using Fragments of DNA in the Blood to Detect Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is often detected at a late stage. Even after cancer is diagnosed, we lack sensitive tools to guide difficult therapeutic decisions such as chemotherapy administration after surgery. Small fragments of cancer DNA are found in the blood, and their detection through simple blood draws shows significant promise as a non-invasive test. However, these fragments constitute a small minority of DNA fragments found in the blood, limiting their usefulness with existing testing methods. We developed a novel, ultra-sensitive cancer DNA fragment detection method that identifies cancer at very low frequencies and enhances detection in up to two orders of magnitude (a factor of 100). These findings may lead to cancer detection by blood testing that could transform care by enabling early detection and monitoring of residual disease.
Update: The generous support of the Lung Cancer Discovery Award grant has allowed us to expand the clinical validation of this detection method on a large group of patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Our goal is to enable early detection of lung cancer to improve the rates of cure through surgical intervention. We anticipate that this work will lead to large-scale prospective clinical trials for clinical implementation of this novel technology to transform lung cancer screening and treatment.