Public Release: 

2016 AACR Annual Meeting presentations highlight advances in cancer DNA biomarker research using Bio-Rad's Droplet Digital PCR technology

Chempetitive Group

New Orleans, LA -- April 16, 2016 -- New research showcasing the increasing role of Bio-Rad's Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR™) technology in detecting cell-free DNA (cfDNA) biomarkers will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April 16-20. Featuring research from 20 global oncology investigators, the presentations will focus on the application of ddPCR to detect cancer biomarkers in liquid biopsies and monitor patient response to treatment.

"As a practicing thoracic oncologist, I've seen DNA biomarkers emerge as some of our most powerful tools for predicting benefit from targeted therapies," said Geoffrey Oxnard, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

Many cancer researchers have turned to cfDNA in blood, urine, and other body fluids as noninvasive biomarkers to understand how genetic changes -- mutations, rearrangements, and copy number variations -- influence cancer development and its evolution.

Early Prostate Cancer Biomarkers Discovered

Conventional approaches for prostate cancer detection are invasive and often lack specificity. Instead of relying on tumor samples, Tulane University researchers investigated the potential of monitoring cfDNA from urine. Using ddPCR, the team screened urine samples of prostate cancer patients for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) they had established as being associated with prostate cancer. The group identified two SNPs with the potential of being developed as a noninvasive diagnostic assay for early detection of prostate cancer.

This poster (abstract #424) will be presented on Sunday, April 17 from 1-5 PM in Section 21.

ddPCR Allows Detection of Single Cancer DNA Molecules

One of the difficulties in detecting DNA-based cancer biomarkers is their low abundance compared to DNA from healthy cells. A Stanford University research team has developed a ddPCR assay that is capable of detecting and quantifying cancer mutations in samples with low mutation abundance such as archival tissue DNA and circulating tumor DNA. This assay can detect nearly any cancer mutation down to single DNA molecule resolution, including known actionable mutations in oncogenes such as BRAF and KRAS.

This poster (abstract #1380) will be presented on Monday, April 18 from 8 AM-12 PM in Section 21.

cfDNA Shown To Be a Valuable Pharmacodynamic Biomarker of KRAS-Mutant Lung Cancer

Phase 1 clinical trials have historically focused on toxicity studies but are increasingly collecting information on pharmacodynamics (PD), the dose-dependent effect a drug has on the body. A team of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) researchers, including Dr. Oxnard and colleagues from the Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science, have shown proof of principle in early phase clinical trials that plasma cfDNA, as measured by ddPCR, is a valuable PD biomarker in KRAS-mutant non-small-cell lung cancer in early phase clinical trials.

This poster (abstract #3157) will be presented on Tuesday, April 19 from 8 AM-12 PM in Section 22.

ddPCR Validates Copy Number Variations in Hereditary Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in American men -- more than 27,000 men will die of the disease in the U.S. this year, according to the National Cancer Institute. A family history of prostate cancer is a prominent risk factor, but identifying an individual's genetic susceptibility to prostate cancer has been challenging due to genetic heterogeneity. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans researchers will present findings that show how using ddPCR for absolute quantification of copy number variations in germ line DNA may help facilitate screening in hereditary prostate cancer families.

"Ideally, in the long term, our findings will play a significant role in the diagnosis of prostate cancer in the world of precision medicine," said Diptasri Mandal, PhD, Professor of Genetics at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans.

This poster (abstract #4956) will be presented on Wednesday, April 20 from 8 AM-12 PM in Section 25.

Bio-Rad To Host Exhibitor Spotlight Presentation: "Moving Toward Clinically Actionable Liquid Biopsies with Digital PCR"

Filip Janku, MD, PhD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will discuss liquid biopsy applications in patients with advanced cancers. These applications include detection of targets for cancer therapy, prognostic evaluation, therapeutic monitoring, and real-time monitoring of clonal evolution. David Polsky, MD, PhD, from the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, will present a recent study that compares the clinical sensitivity of BRAF and NRAS mutant detection in cfDNA with the current standard blood biomarker for monitoring disease in patients with metastatic melanoma.

These talks will be presented on Tuesday, April 19 from 12:30-1:30 PM in Exhibitor Spotlight Theater A, Exhibit Halls G-J

Bio-Rad's booth (#1730) will feature the company's award-winning QX200™ Droplet Digital PCR System as well as its Automated Droplet Generator (AutoDG™), which automates droplet generation for a simplified, more consistent ddPCR workflow.

For more information about ddPCR, please visit

The QX200 Droplet Digital PCR System and Automated Droplet Generator are for research use only and are not intended for use in diagnostic procedures.


About Bio-Rad

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) develops, manufactures, and markets a broad range of innovative products and solutions for the life science research and clinical diagnostic markets. The company is renowned for its commitment to quality and customer service among university and research institutions, hospitals, public health and commercial laboratories, as well as the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and food safety industries. Founded in 1952, Bio-Rad is based in Hercules, California, and serves more than 100,000 research and healthcare industry customers through its global network of operations. The company employs more than 7,800 people worldwide and had revenues exceeding $2 billion in 2015. For more information, please visit

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