Life sciences and diagnostics company Sequenom Inc, San Diego, has entered into a clinical research collaboration with the University of California, San Diego, Moores Cancer Center. Under the collaboration, Moores Cancer Center will explore the utility of Sequenom’s liquid biopsy assay to comprehensively profile circulating cell-free tumor DNA in blood to enable serial monitoring and assist with therapy selection in cancer patients. The technology has the potential to overcome the challenges and limitations associated with current methods such as imaging and invasive biopsies.


Razelle Kurzrock, MD, University of California, San Diego.

“Sequenom has designed a comprehensive multigene panel based on the clinical actionability of cancer genes. The ability to match patients to a growing list of treatments and to monitor their response by a simple blood draw promises to make a significant difference in the way we treat cancer patients at UC San Diego,” says Razelle Kurzrock, MD, chief of the division of hematology and oncology, Murray professor of medicine, senior deputy director of clinical science, and director of the center for personalized cancer therapy and clinical trials office. “The collaboration with Sequenom will allow us to analyze more cancer-related genes in the blood than previously possible to better understand tumor heterogeneity and the emergence of resistance mutations.”

Sequenom is currently developing a research use only (RUO) assay with an initial focus on the detection and molecular profiling of late-stage non-hematologic malignancies, where tissue biopsies are not available or too risky to obtain. The assay will cover a breadth of cancer types by analyzing over 100 cancer-related genes that are associated with an FDA-approved drug treatment, included in professional society guidelines, linked to targeted therapies currently in clinical trials, or part of well-documented cancer pathways.


Daniel S. Grosu, MD, Sequenom.

“We are very excited to work with Dr. Kurzrock and the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center to evaluate our circulating tumor DNA profiling assay in clinical samples,” says Daniel Grosu, MD, chief medical officer at Sequenom. “Our wholly owned subsidiary, Sequenom Laboratories, has tested over 450,000 plasma samples to date with our noninvasive prenatal tests, giving us significant experience and know-how in the study of circulating cell-free DNA. We are uniquely positioned to leverage this expertise and move liquid biopsy from a research concept to routine clinical practice in oncology.”

The collaboration with UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is the first of a series of collaborations with leading cancer centers worldwide that will utilize the assay as part of their clinical research programs. Sequenom, through its wholly owned subsidiary Sequenom Laboratories, intends to carry out further studies in order to bring to market a liquid biopsy assay for use in patient care in 2016.

For further information, visit Sequenom.