press release

8.11.15

Epic Sciences publication validates unbiased detection of circulating tumor cells (CTC) from a liquid biopsy.

Epic Sciences announced today the publication of its research in the Journal of Circulating Biomarkers validating the company’s "no cell left behind" platform. The data published demonstrate reproducible and linear assay performance in CTC enumeration as well as additional utility in downstream molecular characterization of single CTCs, including protein biomarker analysis and single cell genomics. The study goes on to illustrate clinical feasibility through direct application of the Epic Sciences platform to analyze samples from metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer patients. Validation of this highly sensitive platform with clinically relevant samples will enable a further level of precision in characterizing the cellular diversity of a patient’s cancer and in detecting latent or early signs of drug resistance.  Both capabilities could dramatically influence patient selection for clinical trials as well as the matching of patients to targeted or combination therapies.

“Today’s cancer fighting drugs target single mutations and are used one at a time, even though many cancers result from multiple cell types, each with a unique mutation profile,” said Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Epic Sciences. “Epic Sciences’ no cell left behind" technology was specifically designed to detect all possible varieties of CTCs, many of which cannot be seen with other technologies. Furthermore, we can analyze individual CTCs for genetic and proteomic aberrations to provide real-time information about cancer heterogeneity to guide tailored and timely treatments, including combination therapies.”

The study showed the analytical validation of Epic Sciences’ "no cell left behind" CTC platform for assay accuracy, linearity, specificity, precision and repeatability across assay runs and multiple operators. This study also demonstrated that Epic Sciences’ platform could accurately detect epithelial CTCs as well as non-epithelial CTCs. These additional CTC variants, including CTC clusters, small CTCs and apoptotic CTCs are clinically relevant in predicting drug response. Identifying all CTC variants and enabling their subsequent isolation one cell at a time is unique among CTC technologies. These capabilities are possible since the Epic Sciences platform does not require any initial sample enrichment. These data also validate the downstream capabilities enabled with Epic Sciences’ technology including the analysis of cell morphology, protein biomarker analysis, DNA FISH and copy number variation all of which were performed at the single cell level. Furthermore, the platform was employed to generate data from a small cohort of metastatic prostate cancer patient samples to test clinical utility. These data revealed that 89 percent of patient samples examined had epithelial CTCs, whereas 100 percent of the samples had CTCs when including non-epithelial CTC variants. No CTCs were detectable from normal donors.

“Methods, such as tissue biopsies with genomic analysis and liquid biopsies that analyze circulating free DNA in the blood look at cancer in terms of averages. Cancer however, is a disease of multiple, rare cells types that occur simultaneously in patients. Individual clones develop resistance to therapies and continue to grow and evolve, resulting in metastatic cancers that are difficult to treat,” said Dr. Prahalad. “Single cell analysis at the genomic level will enable a deeper understanding of cancer’s clonal evolution in the context of individual patients through the assessment of which mutations are present in specific cell types at a particular point in time. This opens the door for a more customized sequencing of targeted or combination therapies. It will also allow the monitoring of therapeutic effectiveness over time, potentially well in advance of imaging results.”

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.

For more information, visit epicsciences.com.

Stay in touch on LinkedIn, on Twitter@EpicSciences and Facebook.com/EpicSciences.

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