US-based Genomic Health has achieved positive results from its first two feasibility trials of next-generation sequencing, in a bid to test its potential to detect and characterise the presence of bladder cancer DNA in urine and breast cancer DNA in blood.

Genomic is currently working on the standardised non-invasive tests that can deliver ongoing evaluation of a patient’s cancer to get quantitative real-time insights to notify treatment planning from diagnosis to treatment selection and monitoring.

Genomic Health chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president Kim Popovits said: "The ability to determine the presence of disease or the development of drug resistance holds huge promise for individualizing care at multiple points throughout a cancer patient’s journey.

"The positive results from these two studies represent an important step toward achieving our goal of once again revolutionizing the way cancer is treated by offering standardized non-invasive liquid biopsy tests to analyze multiple tumor-derived genomic signatures."

Solid tumours originating in internal organs including the breast or bladder frequently discharge DNA and tumour cells into the bloodstream or urine, and when its presence in blood increases over time, then new course of treatment may be suitable.

The company’s NGS- and PCR-based technologies and methods were deployed in both trials to detect tumour DNA and tumour DNA changes in urine and blood.

In a bid to find the précised and efficient way to detect cancer presence in a tumour sample, the company studied three major alteration types including DNA copy number aberrations (CNAs), DNA methylation variations and DNA single nucleotide variations (SNVs).

Genomic Health executive vice-president of research and development Steven Shak said: "Liquid biopsies have the potential to successfully measure the presence and burden of cancer, as well as the sensitivity or resistance to specific drugs.

"We believe our ability to assess cancer DNA in a non-invasive liquid-biopsy sample to monitor the genomic alterations as they occur in response to therapy or simply over the course of the disease will transform the way cancer is treated, monitored and managed."

With plans to roll out its first liquid biopsy-based test next year, Genomic is also executing larger-scale proof-of-concept trials probing analytical methods that have the potential to enable accurate and scalable genomic analysis of liquid biopsies in breast and bladder cancer patients.