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2013 Archived Content
Third Annual

Circulating Tumor Cells

Future of Cancer Management


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The use of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) as a biomarker for companion diagnostics and early detection is much needed in the treatment of cancer.This conference is dedicated to uncovering the mystery around CTCs, including tumor cell clusters, the role of the bone marrow in the creation and circulation of cells, and correlating tumor cell types with their function.

Scientific Advisory Board

Daniel Haber, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center; Isselbacher/Schwartz Professor of Oncology, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Klaus Pantel, M.D., Director, Institute of Tumor Biology, UKE
Steven A. Soper, Ph.D., Professor, Biomedical Engineering; Professor, Chemistry; Director, CBMM; Pryor Emeritus Professor (LSU), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Lynn Sorbara, Ph.D., Program Director, NIH/NCI/Division of Cancer Prevention, Cancer Biomarker Research Group


Wednesday, February 13

7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee


Plenary Keynote Session 

8:00 – 9:40 am Plenary Keynote Presentation - Personalized Oncology – Fulfilling the Promise for Today's Patients

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference, CHI and Cancer Commons will present a plenary panel on Personalized Oncology. Innovations such as NGS and The Cancer Genome Atlas have revealed that cancer comprises hundreds of distinct molecular diseases. Early clinical successes with targeted therapies suggest that cancer might one day be managed as a chronic disease using an evolving cocktail of drugs.Representing all five conference channels, Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Clinical, Informatics, and Cancer, a panel of experts will lead a highly interactive exploration of what it will take to realize this vision in the near future.

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9:40 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


Keynote Session 

11:00 Chairperson's Opening Remarks

11:10 Biomarkers in Circulating Tumor Cells: Current Progress toward Qualifying Molecular Assays

Daniel Danila, M.D., Genitourinary Oncology Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Unmet needs in cancer drug development and patient management are the ability to monitor treatment benefit and to identify the target of interest in a tumor at the time treatment is being considered. Focusing on molecular biomarkers in CTC, this presentation will emphasize the current state of establishing analytical valid biomarkers for specific contexts of use in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer.

11:40 Chip-Based Characterization of the Molecular Characteristics of CTCs in Prostate and Lung Cancer

Daniel Haber, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center; Isselbacher/Schwartz Professor of Oncology, Harvard Medical School; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

12:10 pm Circulating Tumor Cells: Challenges and Perspectives

Klaus Pantel, M.D., Director, Institute of Tumor Biology, UKE

Detection and molecular characterization of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) is one of the most active areas of translational cancer research with more than 400 clinical studies including CTCs as biomarker. Aims of research on CTCs include (i) estimation of the risk for metastatic relapse or metastatic progression (prognostic information); (ii) stratification & real-time monitoring of therapies; (iii) identification of therapeutic targets and resistance mechanisms, and (iv) understanding metastatic development in cancer patients.

Veridex 12:40 Luncheon Presentation I: Characterization of Circulating Tumor Cells With the CellSearch Platform

Brad Foulk, Senior Scientist, Janssen R&DBeginning in 2004 the CellSearch platform has been FDA approved to enumerate circulating tumor cells(CTC)in metastatic breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients.  Since that time the platform has proven to be a valuable research tool for the characterization of CTCs as well. A review of techniques to characterize CTC by molecular and cellular methods will be presented.

Predictive Bio1:10 Luncheon Presentation II
Maximizing Clinical Utility of Non-Invasive Biomarkers

Anthony P. Shuber, CTO, Predictive Biosciences

We have developed a non-invasive multianalyte assay combining DNA and protein markers that simultaneously delivers high sensitivity (high NPV) and specificity (high PPV). This unique combination improves clinical performance and reduce assay complexity and cost.

1:45 20th Anniversary Cake in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


Liquid Biopsy 

2:15 Chairperson's Remarks

Luis Diaz, M.D., Associate Professor of Oncology, Director of Translational Medicine, Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins, Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins

2:20 Circulating Tumor Cells: Current Clinical Utility and Future Directions

Daniel Hayes, M.D., Professor, Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Circulating tumor cells may represent the biology of the underlying cancer. Certainly, elevated levels of CTC are associated with worse prognosis. Recent studies have demonstrated the ability to genotype and phenotype CTC, and at least these studies reflect the heterogeneity of cancer. Ongoing and future studies will address whether CTC can be used to direct general or targeted anti-cancer therapy.

2:50 Sequencing and Monitoring Circulating Free DNA in Colorectal Cancer Patients

Luis Diaz, M.D., Associate Professor of Oncology, Director of Translational Medicine, Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins, Kimmel Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins

Several malignancies are known to shed DNA fragments into the blood stream.  Cancer specific mutations can distinguish these tumor-derived fragments, termed circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), from non-tumor DNA.  We developed a dynamic biomarker based on this premise utilizing a highly sensitive digital PCR-based and next-generation sequencing-based assays.  These assays allow for precise measurement of tumor cell dynamics by quantifying circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) levels in plasma from patients with cancer. This technology has been studied extensively in a variety of tumor types and scenarios.  Ongoing efforts are expanding the role of ctDNA measurements in a variety of clinical scenarios and for the genotyping of patients enrolled in clinical trials.  This technology is also being incorporated into the human clinical trials as a companion diagnostic measuring key predictive mutations in the blood.

3:20 Digital Profiling of Circulating Tumor Cells: Towards Point-of-Care Molecular Diagnostics

Balaji Panchapakesan (Baloo), Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Louisville

In this talk, we will present our efforts on developing hand held electronic devices for profiling molecular surface receptors directly in circulating tumor cells. The presentation will focus on our scientific efforts, opportunities and challenges faced in the development of new generation of electronic devices to profile circulating tumor cells for clinical applications.  

Screen Cell3:50 The Capture, Growth and Genetic Analysis of CTC in PDAC: What Can it Tell Us About this Disease?

Sarah P. Thayer, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, Surgery, W. Gerald Austen Scholar in Academic Surgery & Director, Pancreatic Biology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital

CTC captured by ScreenCell devices were detected in patients with resectable PDAC.These CTC are capable of in vitro growth confirming tumorigenicity.Selective deep sequencing demonstrated the feasibility of identifying mutations present in the primary tumor and their corresponding CTC.

4:20 Networking Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing (Sponsorship Opportunities Available)

5:20 Breakout Discussions in the Exhibit Hall

Emerging Classes of Biomarkers—Exosomes and CTCs

Moderator: Enal Razvi, Ph.D., Biotechnology Analyst

   • Expanding interest in exosomes and CTCs and the factors driving this interest
   • Characteristics of value of exosomes and CTCs as biomarkers
   • Therapeutic areas addressable
   • Current state of the technologies for isolation and characterization
   • Clinical utility:  where will exosomes and CTCs find value in diagnostics & personalized medicine

Understanding Metastatic Development in Cancer Patients

Moderator: Klaus Pantel, M.D., Director, Institute of Tumor Biology, UKE

CTC Technology Advances

Moderator: Steven A. Soper, Ph.D., Professor, Biomedical Engineering; Professor, Chemistry; Director, CBMM; Pryor Emeritus Professor (LSU), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

   • While the recovery of CTCs using seeding experiments with cell lines continue to climb, how representative is this type of analysis for “true” clinical samples?
   • The operational metrics for CTC devices has been throughput, recovery and purity, is there additional ones that should be considered?
   • For positive selection devices, what about the use of new markers besides EpCAM? 
   • What about non-epithelial based cancers, such as myeloma or leukemia, that cannot use EpCAM as the selection marker? Is there any room for these type of rare cell selection technologies?
   • Requirements for pre-processing of whole blood before input into the CTC selection device, is this viewed as significantly consequential?
   • Sampling input volumes, is 7.5 ml still required or can one consider lower input volumes due to higher recoveries that are being reported?
   • What is the requirements for moving new technologies from the discovery laboratory into the clinical regime –   manufacturability and assay cost?
   • How is the new CPT codes for CTC analysis going to affect technology development, or will it?
   • What about using CTC new technologies serving as companion diagnostics for drug discovery? PHARMA input.
   • What about devices that determine CTC numbers in vivo?

CTCs in Pharma Clinical Trials

Moderator: Iman Jilani, Ph.D., Associate Director, Clinical Assay Group, Global Clinical Pharmacology, Pfizer, Inc.

   • Shipping logistics and stabilization of fresh samples for CTC analysis in clinical trials
   • Implementation of the new CTC platforms in China
   • Assay validation vs clinical validation
   • How CTCs are used in clinical trials (prognosis, efficacy, or stratification)

Microbial Profiles in CTCs: The Role of Infectious Agents in Cancer Progression

Moderator: Crystal Jaing, Ph.D., Group Leader, Applied Genomics, Physical Life Sciences Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

   • Role of viral and bacterial infections on CTC and cancer progression
   • Current state of technologies to profile and characterize infectious viruses and bacteria in CTC
   • Potential use of viral or bacterial infection as early diagnosis or prognosis biomarkers for cancer progression
   • Effects of human microbiomes on the frequency of CTC and cancer progression, and the assessment of high risk populations

Any consensual definition of CTCs?Moderator: Yvon Cayre, M.D., CSO, Screencell & Professor, Medecine, Pierre & Marie Curie University                           • How could we reach a common definition of CTCs?
   • Are existing systems adapted for reaching a common definition of CTCs?
   • CTCs and metastatic diseases, functional definition of CTCs

6:20 Close of Day

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