Biocept is a leading commercial provider of liquid biopsy testing services designed to enable oncologists to rapidly detect and monitor cancer biomarkers from a simple blood sample. The Company’s test menu focuses on cancer biomarkers that are clinically actionable based on clinical treatment guidelines listed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Biocept has developed its Target Selector™ test platform, which offers the unique ability to analyze both circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). Target Selector™ utilizes proprietary enrichment methods to identify molecular alterations, resulting in test sensitivity and specificity that are among the highest in the industry. With a high performance liquid biopsy test menu focused on the information that matters most, Biocept offers a convenient and non-invasive solution for cancer patients that can provide real-time answers to physicians about the molecular drivers of a patient’s disease. With rapid access to this molecular information, oncologists can be better armed to design and pursue responsive, personalized, and effective treatment plans.
Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs)
Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cancer cells that have shed from a primary or metastatic tumor and circulate in the bloodstream. The identification and isolation of CTCs in cancer patients can be used with or as an alternative to traditional tissue biopsies in order to evaluate what might be taking place on a real-time basis. This technology may be used to evaluate a patient prognosis as well as their response to therapy.
Our technology uses a proprietary antibody-based enrichment technique to capture and detect CTCs found in a patient’s blood sample in very low abundance (as low as 1 tumor cell for every 1 million non-cancerous cells). Increasing evidence correlates CTCs with progression-free survival and overall survival in cancer patients, however CTCs can also be a great source of tumor sample to help perform biomarker analysis when a tissue biopsy is insufficient, not feasible, or unavailable. CTCs obtained through our platform can be used to molecularly characterize tumor cells and evaluate changes in protein expression as well as in DNA and RNA. CTC analysis can be used to help qualify patients for targeted therapies, as well as to determine response or resistance to therapy.
Circulating Tumor DNA (ctDNA)
In addition to our patented CTC capture and detection technology, we have also developed a proprietary method for detecting circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to determine the status of specific cancer-driving mutations. Genetic material that typically mutates and causes cancer (oncogenes) can be found in the bloodstream, and detecting extracellular fragments of mutated oncogenes in the blood (ctDNA) has become a well-validated method for profiling cancer patients. Newer drug therapies are designed to target the specific genetic mutations underlying a patient’s disease, and treatment based on this information can enable better treatment outcomes with fewer treatment-related side effects. However, ctDNA occurs in very low abundance relative to normal background or “wild-type” DNA, making this a significant challenge for ctDNA detection and analysis in a liquid biopsy. To make this possible, Biocept’s technology was developed. Biocept’s Target Selector™ ctDNA technology is designed to suppress amplification of background DNA, while not suppressing amplification of mutation sequences that differ from wild-type by even a single nucleotide variant (SNV), or one unit of DNA. By varying temperature when testing is performed, wild-type DNA is completely blocked without effecting amplification of mutants. This is accomplished using a very sensitive switch that is embedded in Biocept’s technology construct. When the switch is “open,” due to a mismatch (oncogene mutation), amplification can take place. When the switch is “closed,” due to a perfect complement (no genetic mutation, ie wild-type), amplification is blocked. In addition to highly selective blocking, Biocept’s technology also contains fluorescent labels and quenchers that allow Biocept’s technology construct to provide a fluorescent read-out in real-time PCR assays. When using real-time PCR, Biocept’s technology assays are completely quantitative, and give discrimination of more than 1:10,000 (mutant:wild-type). Biocept’s technology can also be used to preferentially amplify sequences of interest prior to sequencing. This proprietary technique leads to very high performance of ctDNA amplification and detection, and also offers cost advantages given the reduced noise (little to no wild-type amplification).
How A Liquid Biopsy Works
Established, clinically actionable biomarkers — from a simple blood test.