The Track 5 (Clinical Diagnostics Showcase) session of Day 2 of the Personalized Medicine World Conference (PMWC) 2018 began with a talk by Bernhard Zimmerman, PhD, Vice President R&D, at Natera. Dr. Zimmerman was the lead scientist in Natera’s development of the massively multiplex PCR and market-leading Panorama non-invasive prenatal test. More recently, his team has developed multiple workflows for analysis of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) using fixed and personalized panels. In particular, Dr. Zimmerman described Natera’s Signatera ctDNA technology, which is is truly personalized in that it focuses on 16 or more mutations known to be present in a patient’s tumor sample (“tumor signatures”). This unique approach enables high sensitivity and specificity for ctDNA detection and monitoring, Dr. Zimmerman noted. He also cited a Nature study, published on May 25, 2017, in which Natera technology was used to enable a tumor-specific phylogenetic approach to profile the ctDNA of the first 100 TRACERx (Tracking Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Evolution Through Therapy (Rx)) study participants (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature22364). The next speaker was John Heimer, President & CEO, Olink Proteomics. Olink’s goal is to facilitate and implement precision medicine via discovery and development of validated protein targets to identify smaller protein signatures for, e.g., stratification and prediction, and to advance them in clinical decision-making. Olink’s precision proteomics panels are able to achieve a high level of multiplexing while maintaining exceptional data quality thanks to its proprietary Proximity Extension Assay (PEA) technology. Each biomarker is addressed by a matched pair of antibodies, coupled to unique, partially complementary oligonucleotides, and measured by quantitative real-time PCR.
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