Dr. Himisha Beltran and movember friends get ‘stached’.

In order to benefit from the latest advances in precision medicine, Himisha Beltran, M.D., has to subject her prostate cancer patients to invasive biopsies that can be painful, expensive, difficult to perform, and not always feasible.

But she is hoping to harness new genomic sequencing technologies to track tumor activity from a simple blood draw, and a $1 million grant from the Prostate Cancer Foundation may help make the dream a clinical reality.

The technique, known as ctDNA, detects DNA shed from tumor cells into the circulation. It is much less invasive and allows multiple samples to be taken throughout a patient’s treatment, resulting in a more robust, real-time understanding of the cancer’s progress.

Working with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine as well as Gerhardt Attard, M.D., Ph.D. of the Institute of Cancer Research, and experts from the University of Trento (Italy), the University of British Columbia, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Washington University, and Duke Cancer Institute, Beltran is developing a targeted genomic sequencing test (to be named PCF SELECT) that identifies tumor mutations in ctDNA from metastatic prostate cancer patients and can be used to guide selection of precision medicine treatments.

The international team has already collectively generated genomic sequencing data from more than 1,000 metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer ctDNA samples using a range of sequencing technologies and test designs.

“These data will be interrogated to identify a panel of genomic alterations that can be assessed to predict clinical outcome or response to treatment,” said Beltran, clinical director of the Caryl and Israel Englander Institute for Precision Medicine and member of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center.

This is an excerpt, read the original article as it appeared on our Meyer Cancer Center site.