The Cancer Avatar Project: Using Targeted NGS to Analyze Circulating Tumor DNA

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This webinar will cover the Cancer Avatar Project at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute (CPMCRI), and Swift Biosciences’ technology that helps to overcome the complexity of tumor profiling, namely the company’s Accel-Amplicon NGS sequencing workflow.

In the first part of this webinar, CPMCRI’s Dr. Pierre-Yves Desprez will discuss the Cancer Avatar Project, a multimodal approach that includes living biology, genomics, high-throughput pharmacologic screening, and informatics to design highly individualized treatment options for fast-growing solid tumors (8 different types of cancer) in patients who have exhausted standard-of-care options.

His team has optimized a method for sequencing circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) obtained from patients’ blood. Mutations identified in ctDNA can reflect alterations found in the primary tumor. Dr. Desprez will share DNA sequencing results from more than 100 matched tissue and ctDNA samples to reveal driver mutations. Additionally, he will outline his lab’s strategy to analyze mutational profiles of longitudinal blood biopsies to monitor each patient’s response to treatment and/or evolution toward resistance in real time and in a non-invasive manner. This information is anticipated to be instrumental in designing treatment strategies in patients with recurrent or progressive disease.

In the second part of this webinar, Dr. Drew McUsic of Swift Biosciences will give a brief overview of Swift’s Accel-Amplicon NGS sequencing workflow and the new customizable cancer panels for targeted sequencing studies, including Swift’s Accel-Amplicon 56G Oncology Panel v2 kit for target amplification.


Pierre-Yves Desprez, PhD
Senior Scientist
California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute

Drew McUsic, PhD
Product Manager
Swift Biosciences

Dr. Pierre-Yves Desprez joined the University of California at Berkeley after completion of his doctoral thesis at the University of Lyon in France. Dr. Desprez has been a Principal Investigator at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco since 1996. The Desprez laboratory is focused on helix-loop-helix transcriptional regulators, their role in regulating cancer progression, as well as the effects of non-psychotropic cannabinoid compounds to control their expression. As part as the Cancer Avatar Project, Dr. Desprez leads DNA/RNA sequencing and molecular profiling efforts.