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Expert Point of View: George A. Fisher, Jr, MD, PhD


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George A. Fisher, Jr, MD, PhD

George A. Fisher, Jr, MD, PhD

George A. Fisher, Jr, MD, PhD, the Colleen Haas Chair in Medicine-Oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine, commented on the cell-free DNA methylation blood-based test from the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas (CCGA) study. The findings presented by Dr. Wolpin, he said, “lead us to the eventual excitement that we may have a cancer screening test. However, who to apply the test to, and how often, are still cost/efficacy issues that have to be worked out.”

The analysis of cell-free DNA is a rapidly evolving field that has the potential to become an effective way to diagnosis cancer early and could even be a means of identifying the anatomic origin of the cancer, according to Dr. Fisher. In his opinion, the test developed from the CCGA may trump some of the others in development for the same purpose.

“The technology of noninvasive blood testing is still advancing, in terms of both the depth of sequencing that can be done and the cost of testing. There is now a lot of competition in this field,” revealed Dr. Fisher. “DNA methylation adds a twist because it looks at things besides the gene sequence and the individual mutations. The sensitivity and specificity of identifying a tumor site make DNA methylation status stand apart from some other tests. This test is definitely heading in a more sensitive and more accurate direction.” 

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Fisher has an immediate family member who holds stock or other ownership interests in Seattle Genetics; has received honoraria from Ipsen, Merck, and Novartis; has served as a consultant or advisor to Genentech, Ipsen, Jounce Therapeutics, Merck, Terumo, and Taiho Pharmaceutical.

 


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