Epic Sciences demonstrates single cell genetic analysis for circulation tumor cells.

Epic Sciences announced today that its “no cell left behind” technology has successfully integrated single cell isolation and downstream genetic analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to the platform’s capabilities. Data describing next generation sequencing and copy number variation analyses of single prostate cancer cells in a blood sample will be presented during the 2015 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), April 18-22, in Philadelphia.

In the study, independent isolates of human blood cells spiked with prostate cancer cell lines were processed on the Epic platform and genetic material from individual cells was subsequently sequenced. Profiles for copy number variation (CNV), a common category of genetic aberration, demonstrated a high level of correlation among replicate samples, demonstrating the reproducibility of the “no cell left behind” platform.

“Metastatic cancers are highly heterogeneous at the genetic level and can evolve during the course of disease under therapeutic pressure,” said Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Epic Sciences. “The ability to genetically analyze individual circulating tumor cells has the potential to dramatically impact the development of new therapies and better inform treatment decisions to more effectively fight these complex diseases.”

CTCs are shed by tumors and can be collected by a simple blood draw. Single cell analysis of CTCs by Epic’s technology is designed to allow clinicians a window into the heterogeneity of each patient’s disease. With real-time information about both the primary tumor and secondary metastases, CTCs provide a comprehensive picture of which mutations are driving therapeutic resistance or could be therapeutically targeted.

“Single cell genetic analysis is a key advance in the circulating tumor cell field and a major step in fighting cancer,” concluded Dr. Prahalad. “Epic has now enabled accurate tracking of tumor evolution and intrapatient heterogeneity to inform therapeutic development, therapy selection and drug resistance mechanisms.”

Methods that pool the genetic material from a biopsy homogenize the sample and cloak underrepresented mutations that may hold early signs of therapeutic resistance. Genetic analysis at the single cell level is expected to deliver the most accurate picture possible of how each individual patient’s disease is developing, thereby enabling design of effective and tailored treatments.

The study, “A Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Genome Wide Copy Number Variation (CNV) Assay for Comparison of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) Heterogeneity,” will be presented in Poster Session PO.MCB03.03, “Identification of Molecular Markers,” on April 22, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

About Epic Sciences

At Epic Sciences, we develop clinically proven predictive tests to detect and monitor cancer at the individual cell level. With a proprietary rare-cell detection engine, we provide insights to clinical, biotech, pharmaceutical and academic teams on how cancer emerges, mutates and remits so they can make pivotal decisions at every point in patient treatment with greater certainty. Recognizing the unique nature of each person’s cancer, we offer truly personalized diagnostic tests, while being non-invasive for the patient.

We have developed the first clinically proven predictive test for metastatic castration-resistant prostrate cancer (mCRPC), the Epic AR-V7 test. Using the same rare-cell detection platform and Epic’s biobank of over 30,000 blood samples, each profiled with predictive biomarkers, we partner with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, major cancer centers, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pursue additional predictive tests for breast, ovarian, colon and other cancers and diseases. Our mission is to revolutionize cancer care and therapies to make them as precise, safe and life-sustaining as humanly possible.

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Epic Sciences Media Contact: Jessica Yingling, Ph.D., Little Dog Communications Inc.,,+1.858.344.8091