Two studies in Nature applied DNA blood testing using the BEAMing technology to detect drug resistance mediated by KRAS mutations in colorectal cancer patients months before treatment failure was observed.
The group led by Alberto Bardelli, Ph.D., of the University of Torino, Italy describes the development of secondary resistance mutations to the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab (Erbitux(R)) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) [Misale S. et al., Nature Epub 13 June 2012].The second group led by Luis Diaz, MD and Bert Vogelstein, M.D. from Johns Hopkins University reached similar conclusions after studying mCRC patients treated with a monotherapy of panitumumab (Vectibix(R)) [Diaz Jr LA et al., Nature Epub 13 June 2012].
Both teams concluded that blood-based noninvasive monitoring of patients undergoing targeted therapy could provide significant benefits by allowing for early intervention with additional treatment options that may delay or prevent disease progression.
The BEAMing technology is a combination of digital PCR and flow cytometry originally developed by the group of Bert Vogelstein, MD. Inostics licensed the technology from the Johns Hopkins University and automated it for routine use.
BEAMing is the most sensitive and quantitative technology available today for the detection of tumor specific somatic mutations in blood samples.