Cancer Research Advances Enabled by Acoustic Liquid Handling to be Presented at AACR 2018

Written by Bioscribe on April 06, 2018

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We’ll be joining thousands of cancer researchers from around the world who will be converging in Chicago on April 14-18, for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting.

The theme this year: Driving Innovative Cancer Science to Patient Care. We’re proud that our innovative acoustic liquid handling is driving many of these discoveries, and we invite you to stop by BOOTH 1038 to learn about how our unique technology is enabling better, faster, and more cost-effective results from next-gen sequencing to functional screening.

Guiding Cancer Treatment

Among the innovations our Echo systems are enabling is functional drug screening to guide personalized cancer treatment.

Seattle firm SEngine Precision Medicine will be presenting several examples of their successes using patient-derived organoids and high-throughput drug screening to identify potential treatment paths in a variety of cancers. Learn how acoustic liquid handling has helped the company expand the scope of its drug testing.

A test of 10 samples of pediatric patients with neuroblastoma, for instance, identified highly specific drug sensitivities, including some that had not been predicted by genomic analysis alone. (“Patient derived organoids to guide personalized neuroblastoma treatment”) The method has also proven useful for patients of recurrent metastatic breast cancer. Samples collected and tested at different stages of the disease reflect the evolution of the tumor, and in some cases, indicate changes that warrant treatment revisions. (“Patient derived tumor organoids identify actionable targets in heavily pretreated metastatic breast cancer patients”)

Another Labcyte collaborator, the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) of the University of Helsinki, will be presenting their use of molecular profiling and ex vivo drug screening in both hematological cancers and solid tumors.

In one study, testing with 515 approved and emerging cancer drugs on 164 acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patient samples identified 7 distinct functional groups of AML with different drug sensitivities. In addition, targeted treatment opportunities that were clinically tested in 25 chemorefractory AML patients led to transient complete remission or leukemia free state in 36% (9/25) of the cases. (“Discovery and clinical implementation of individualized therapies in acute myeloid leukemia based on ex vivo drug sensitivity testing and multi-omics profiling”)

In another, FIMM researchers tackled intratumor heterogenity and clonal evolution in renal cancer. The scientists tested several samples from different spots within each patient’s tumor, to see if drug responses differed. They did. This suggests that several samples should be analyzed in order to identify drugs and drug combinations that may kill the multiple cancer subclones in a patient. (“Establishment and high-throughput drug testing of multiple patient-derived cells from each renal cancer; intratumor heterogeneity of drug response and implications for precision medicine”)

Accelerating Drug Discovery

Another application of functional screening is to aid in drug discovery, and two Labcyte customers are pioneering these efforts.

At a session on Biomarker Discovery, SEngine will show an example where a BRD4 inhibitor (CPI-203) was tested on 8 different primary tumor samples. The tumors that responded were ovarian and breast cancer cases with mutations in BRCA1 or EZH2. There are currently no clinical trials investigating BRD4 inhibitors for breast or ovarian cancer, but the SEngine result suggest there should be. (“Accelerating drug development with a CLIA approved functional test using patient derived organoids”)

Notable Labs tested the effects of 50 common oncology drugs on 14 samples from patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), a collection of clonal diseases of dysfunctional hematopoietic stem cells, characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis, cytopenias, and dysplasia. Limited conventional treatment options exist for these patients, with hypomethylating agents remaining the standard of care for higher-risk MDS patients. The tests shed new insight into drug sensitivity patterns and revealed some unexpected responses among previously drug resistant patients, to calcitriol and poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor rucaparib. (“Recurrent drug sensitivity patterns in myelodysplastic syndrome patients are recapitulated by ex vivo drug response profiling”) The Notable Labs team will describe the process further in a mini-symposium, “Sampling the Cancer Genome and the Epigenome: Opportunities and Exquisite Vulnerabilities,” on April 16, at 4:05 p.m.

We look forward to checking out all the amazing science being presented at AACR 2018, and to sharing how acoustic liquid handling is impacting cancer research.

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