With three grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health, BioFluidica, San Diego, a privately held cancer diagnostics company, will be investigating new chip-based liquid biopsy technologies for the detection of cancer and related genetic variants.
At the beginning of January, NCI awarded BioFluidica a small business innovation research (SBIR) Phase II grant for $1.7 million for a clinical trial in support of increased sensitivity of minimal residual disease monitoring using peripheral blood in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
ALL is the most common malignant disease in childhood and accounts for approximately 30% of all cancers diagnosed before the age of 18 years. The primary cause of death for ALL patients is disease relapse. Monitoring for minimal residual disease is considered the most powerful predictor of outcome in acute leukemias.
With BioFluidica’s technology, “we are able to program microfluidic chips to isolate any kind of diagnostically relevant cell from blood samples, whether from solid tumors or blood cancer,” says Rolf Muller, PhD, CEO of BioFluidica. “In the case of ALL we are detecting complex panels of circulating leukemic cells to monitor cancer recurrence.
“The expansion of BioFluidica’s technology into the blood-borne cancers is added to the clinical validation we have already achieved from nine other cancers, including lung, breast, pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal cancer,” adds Muller. “The high-throughput instrumentation for cell isolation will now be used in clinical trials.”
NCI also awarded the company two SBIR Phase I grants, the first in support of parallel and high-throughput isolation of cancer cell–derived extracellular vesicles, and the second in support of parallel and high-throughput isolation of cfDNA to target detection of rare, highly conserved nucleotide polymorphisms.2,3
“We are excited to expand our technology to be able to capture not only circulating cancer cells from solid tumor and blood cancers but also now to begin to isolate cfDNA and exosomes,” says Muller. “We can now employ all important biomarkers on one single liquid biopsy platform—our programmable microfluidic chips. This will have very positive outcomes for personalized medicine in the cancer diagnostics space as we commercialize further, as well as for researchers and patients.”
For further information, visit www.biofluidica.com.
- Increased Sensitivity of Minimal Residual Disease Monitoring Using Peripheral Blood in Pediatric Patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia [project description, online]. Bethesda, Md: National Institutes of Health, 2019. Available at: https://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?icde=0&aid=9622241. Accessed January 7, 2019.
- Parallel and High-Throughput Isolation of Cancer Cell-Derived Extracellular Vesicles [project description, online]. Bethesda, Md: National Institutes of Health, 2019. Available at: https://projectreporter.nih.gov/reporter_searchresults.cfm. Accessed January 7, 2019.
- Parallel and High-Throughput Isolation of cfDNA to Target Detection of Rare, Highly Conserved Nucleotide Polymorphisms [project description, online]. Bethesda, Md: National Institutes of Health, 2019. Available at: https://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?icde=0&aid=9678257. Accessed January 7, 2019.
Featured image: BioFluidica’s high-throughput instrumentation for cell isolation is scheduled for use in clinical trials.