March 13, 2024  |  Cancer research

TGen sees big developments coming for cancer liquid biopsy research thanks to ultra-accurate PacBio short reads

Faculty at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) at City of Hope were among some of the first to see the promise of the Onso system and sequencing-by-binding (SBB) chemistry for advancing liquid biopsy research. PacBio recently had the opportunity to sit down with Cristian Tomasetti, Director of the Center for Cancer Prevention + Early Detection at City of Hope and TGen, to discuss Onso and SBB performance in the development of new cutting-edge liquid biopsies by the organization.

Key takeaways:

  • The team at TGen is developing liquid biopsy assays based on fragmentomics that could be used for early cancer detection and recurrence monitoring.
  • Sensitivity and specificity are critical to the successful adoption of cancer early detection methods, so the sequencing accuracy that underpins the assay is “…probably the most critical thing in the entire assay.”
  • TGen’s ability to predict whether a sample has cancer using Onso data is “…an order of magnitude better than the standard technology”.
  • Exceptionally accurate Q40+ data from the Onso system is assisting TGen in continuing to reduce the ambiguities between healthy samples and cancer samples.

“Looking at our data coming from this pilot study, [Onso] performance is, I would say, an order of magnitude better than the standard technology.”

-Cristian Tomasetti, PhD

Liquid biopsies have the potential to revolutionize oncology research through the non-invasive detection of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the blood. However, to date, the technical limitations of conventional sequencing technology have made the creation of such assays exceedingly difficult.

To build an assay that delivers clear statistical confidence as early as possible, many existing liquid biopsy techniques rely on complex error-correction strategies and extreme sequencing depth to compensate for lackluster sequencing performance. Even then, the result has often been an assay that is not as good as it could be.

With the launch of the Onso short-read sequencing system and its proprietary SBB chemistry, scientists now have access to sequencing that is 10 to even 100-times more accurate than other leading technologies. This gives Onso users a critical advantage in next-generation liquid biopsy assay development by enabling them to detect extremely rare ctDNA variants earlier, and with potentially less sequencing.

Stay tuned for PacBio short-read liquid biopsy data from TGen

Coming soon! Exciting PacBio short-read sequencing data for liquid biopsy from our early adoption partners will be available soon.

For the latest glimpse into what you can do with PacBio sequencing, visit us at the American Association for Cancer Researcher (AACR) annual meeting in San Diego, CA from April 5-10 for early access to the latest PacBio-enabled research.
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