Grail launches methylation-based liquid biopsy solution for cancer research in a post-diagnosis setting

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

January 10, 2023 -- Grail on Monday announced the availability of a research-use-only offering for biopharmaceutical companies. The firm is leveraging a targeted methylation platform to analyze cell-free DNA (cfDNA) isolated from peripheral blood for cancer signal interrogation.

Potential research use cases include, but are not limited to, prognosis, minimal residual disease detection, and recurrence monitoring across different cancer types in research studies, the firm said.

The "methylation technology and bioinformatics capabilities are well suited for circulating tumor DNA analysis across the cancer continuum," Bob Ragusa, CEO at Grail, said in a statement. "The new technology solution has the versatility to be used in solid tumor research and can be customized to improve performance in specific use cases, including custom classifier development."

Grail said its research-use-only technology solution estimates tumor burden based on methyl variant allele fraction (MVAF), enabling longitudinal monitoring and surveillance solutions. Data from its studies have demonstrated analytically validated performance, as well as robust analytical sensitivity, specificity, and precision, the firm said.

The blood-only liquid biopsy approach eliminates challenges with obtaining tissue samples and avoids bias due to tumor heterogeneity or tumor escape mechanisms. The low input requirements support retrospective research studies.

Several biopharmaceutical partners have leveraged early access to the technology solution, which is now broadly available, Grail said.

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