SAN CARLOS, Calif., and MANHASSET, NY. (June 16, 2014) – Natera, Inc., a leader in non-invasive genetic testing, and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research today announced that they have entered into a research agreement to analyze cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) for advanced detection, diagnosis and monitoring of cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, Natera will provide funding to the Feinstein Institute, which will contribute blood and tissue samples to Natera for the development of technology that can detect tiny fragments of tumor DNA in a patient’s bloodstream.
“Our vision is to enable cancer detection across multiple tumor types that will have the same key features as our prenatal tests: early, accurate, and non-invasive,” said Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Natera. “We are proud of this collaboration with the Feinstein Institute, which will help us advance our vision by studying the DNA signatures and development patterns of malignant tumors from thousands of cancer samples.”
Circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) are small pieces of mutated DNA that tumor cells release into the bloodstream. Analyzing ctDNA in the bloodstream may decrease the need for traditional biopsies, which involve extracting a small piece of tissue from the body for examination, and which, in addition to being invasive, often do not give a comprehensive genetic view of the full tumor.
“Earlier cancer detection leads to better clinical outcomes,” said Peter K. Gregersen, MD, director of the Feinstein Institute’s Center for Genomics and Human Genetics. “The Feinstein Institute is delighted to partner with Natera for the development of cutting-edge diagnostic methods, and we are optimistic about the application of Natera’s core technology to address the unique challenges in early cancer detection and monitoring.”
Natera specializes in designing targeted assays that utilize Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) and unique statistical algorithms to analyze cell-free DNA for the presence of abnormalities. Analyzing cell-free DNA from a fetus during pregnancy is technically similar to analyzing cell-free DNA from a tumor, since the unique DNA of each are mixed in low concentrations with the DNA of the host. These genetic tests can be performed non-invasively, through a simple blood draw. Natera’s tests have demonstrated superior clinical performance in more than a dozen peer-reviewed scientific and clinical publications.
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is one of the fastest-growing biomedical research institutes in the country and maintains a large biorepository of blood and tissue samples collected across the North Shore-LIJ Health System. The health system diagnoses more than 16,000 cancer patients each year, and in collaboration with the North Shore LIJ Cancer Institute brings together a team of multidisciplinary specialists to deliver a coordinated approach to cancer from research to prevention to post-treatment care. As part of the agreement, Natera and the Feinstein Institute will collaborate on multiple research studies to develop molecular diagnostics that will address unmet medical needs in oncology.
About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information, visit www.FeinsteinInstitute.org.
Natera is a genetic testing company that designs targeted assays to analyze tiny quantities of DNA. The mission of the company is to help families diagnose and manage genetic disease. In pursuit of that mission, Natera operates a CAP-accredited laboratory certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) in San Carlos, Calif., currently offering a host of preconception and prenatal genetic testing services primarily to OBGYN physicians and in-vitro fertilization centers. In 2013, the company launched Panorama™, a safe, simple test for pregnant women that screens for the most common chromosomal anomalies in a fetus as early as nine weeks of gestation. Tests developed by Natera have not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more information, visit www.natera.com.