Using liquid biopsies to detect cancer mutations

(SelectScience) – Dr Tobias Paprotka, Director Research and Development at GATC Biotech talked to SelectScience®​ about the company’s latest sequencing innovations for cancer diagnostics.

GATC has developed optimized and automated protocols for its products in order to maximize quality and reproducibility of results.GATC Biotech, established over 25 years ago, is Europe’s largest sequencing service provider. The company offers overnight Sanger sequencing services, as well as next generation sequencing services using different in-house Illumina and Pacific Biosciences technologies, to clients within Europe.

Liquid biopsy is a very promising area for the future of diagnostics, particularly for the analysis of circulating DNA in blood. The technique has the potential to replace many invasive diagnostic methods in upcoming years. GATC first became interested in the field of liquid biopsy in 2010, following a publication of Dr Dennis Lo’s data, showing that foetal DNA from the mother’s bloodstream was sufficient for reliable prenatal diagnostic testing. In 2012, GATC helped develop a blood-based test for non-invasive prenatal testing in Europe.

Liquid biopsy testing can also be applied to cancer diagnostics, as necrotic and apoptotic mechanisms cause tumors to release DNA into the bloodstream. This tumor DNA is present as highly fragmented DNA, in very low amounts in plasma, and can be isolated using optimized protocols. GATC has developed GATCLIQUID as a toolbox to analyze tumor mutations in circulating tumor DNA from blood plasma. The tumor DNA is present in a high background of host DNA, so highly sensitive assays are essential. The GATCLIQUID service family includes three ultra-sensitive assays that detect tumor DNA with a high degree of confidence.

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