CeGaT GmbH has received 500,000 euros in funding under the initiative KMU-Innovativ: Biotechnologie-BioChance of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The goal is to establish methods for the analysis of blood-circulating tumor DNA (cell-free DNA, cfDNA) in the context of cancer diagnostics. This would make the existing molecular genetic mutation analysis at CeGaT available to further patients, who, for medical reasons, cannot undergo a tissue biopsy.
Dying cells often release fragments of their genome, cfDNA, into the blood stream. Recent scientific findings suggest that tumor-specific mutations in the cfDNA can be detected by using modern, highly sensitive, molecular-genetic methods. Consequently, it may be possible to identify these individual mutations by examining an easily obtained blood sample, also known as a liquid biopsy. This makes it possible to derive recommendations for specific treatments, tailored to the patient.
In addition to an initial diagnosis, the analysis of cfDNA also opens up the possibility of close monitoring of cancer. Pioneering investigations show that in many cases this method can detect the progress or the recurrence of a tumor at very early time points. This makes cfDNA-based diagnostics a promising addition to the currently available imaging methods and tumor marker studies.