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Natera Partners With Fox Chase to Evaluate ctDNA Cancer Assay

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) — Natera announced today that it has partnered with the Fox Chase Cancer Center to evaluate the company's Signatera circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) assay for monitoring kidney cancer recurrence.

Launched last year, Signatera is a research-use-only assay for cancer treatment monitoring and minimal residual disease assessment. It is customized for individual patients, matching the mutations in each individual's tumor tissue in order to maximize sensitivity and specificity, according to the company. The blood-based assay can also track up to several hundred additional mutations of interest.

Under the terms of the deal, Natera and Fox Chase will use the assay and next-generation sequencing  to analyze biological specimens collected and banked from 49 kidney cancer patients, including a group whose cancer recurred and a group whose cancer did not recur after three years or more. The study aims to determine whether Signatera can distinguish between the recurring and non-recurring kidney cancer cases.

Additional terms were not disclosed.

"We expect that this study, along with our ongoing research efforts in other cancer types, will help us move toward clinically validating Signatera, with the goal of enabling more precise monitoring, better determination of prognosis, and individualized treatment of disease," Natera CSO for Oncology Jimmy Lin said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Natera CEO Matt Rabinowitz said that the company has signed around 20 agreements with pharmaceutical companies to use the Signatera assay in studies. Chief Operating Officer Steve Chapman added at the time that the firm is on track to launch a CLIA-certified version of the assay in early 2019.