Singapore-based precision oncology startup Lucence, on the heels of its series A funding, is sharing early data highlighting the capabilities of its liquid biopsy technology to detect somatic variants in patients with blood cancers, with excellent matching between blood marrow and blood. Lucence’s amplicon-based sequencing technology, known as AmpliMARK™, can provide high sensitivity mutation detection in blood for multiple solid tumor types. This new study data demonstrates the performance of AmpliMARK™ in hematological malignancies, and suggests that it can provide high resolution, target-rich insights for clinicians and patients to better, and less invasively, manage these diseases.
Liquid biopsy aims to use blood as a platform for cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. In the case of hematological malignancies like leukemia, current bone marrow-based tests for detecting and monitoring disease progression offer limited sensitivity and are highly invasive. Lucence’s findings suggest that a blood-based liquid biopsy test could be a compelling, highly sensitive clinical alternative to these tests.
Lucence’s poster highlighting their recent study results, Ultrasensitive Detection of Diverse Genomic Alterations in Hematological Malignancies using a Targeted Amplicon-based Sequencing Approach, will be presented Tuesday, January 14th at 4:15 pm Eastern Time at the American Association for Cancer Research Advances in Liquid Biopsies meeting in Miami. Based on a study of 65 patients with hematological malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and multiple myeloma, the poster reports high sensitivity of AmpliMARK™ in detecting genomic alterations in blood and bone marrow samples. The study results show that AmpliMARK™ detects mutations at a sensitivity down to 0.1% variant allelic frequencies (VAF) and fusion genes like BCR-ABL1 down to 1% VAF. The results also show excellent concordance between bone marrow and blood, suggesting blood could be a viable medium of detection when marrow is challenging to obtain.
AmpliMARK™ uses a unique molecular bar-code and error correction technology that improves test sensitivity across multiple mutation types for single nucleotide variants and fusion genes. AmpliMARK™ is the foundational breakthrough technology in Lucence’s offering of blood-based tests for both profiling hematological and solid tumors.
Dr. Zi Yi Lim, senior consultant haematologist at the Centre for Clinical Haematology and study co-author, said, “Molecular diagnostics are an essential part of the workup and an important follow up tool in patients with blood cancers. Bone marrow assessments remain the gold standard investigation to evaluate the genomic disease profile of these patients. However, bone marrow assessments are costly, invasive and uncomfortable for the patient. The finding that Lucence’s technology can detect even low-level mutations in peripheral blood of patients with a high level of concordance to bone marrow is an exciting development. This could facilitate more convenient, cost-effective and regular disease assessments of such patients with a blood test.”
Lucence is currently preparing to open their Silicon Valley laboratory to make their liquid biopsy tests more widely available to US clinicians and patients. While the Company’s initial focus in the US will be in profiling late-stage lung cancer patients for treatment selection, the data presented at the AACR conference provides early validation of the core technology of Lucence’s liquid biopsy tests. Lucence announced their $20 million Series A led by IHH Healthcare, one of the world’s largest integrated private healthcare groups, in November 2019, and their executive team will be attending the upcoming 38th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.