Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) recently announced the launch of its latest project, ctMoniTR. This pilot project will aim to harmonize the use of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to monitor treatment response in patients with cancer and test the feasibility of data comparison from different clinical studies.
Friends is pleased to partner with various organizations participating in Step 1 of the ctMoniTR Project. They include AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, Johns Hopkins University, LexentBio, Merck, the NMD Group LLC, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The team hypothesizes that broad changes in ctDNA levels can detect whether a tumor responds to cancer therapies, including chemotherapy; radiation therapy; targeted therapies; and novel immunotherapy approaches, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors.
The use of ctDNA to monitor treatment response is an evolving field, with both technical and clinical challenges. This is due in part to the variability in how it has been utilized in clinical trials and the variation in collection methods and analysis.
At the Friends Annual Meeting in 2018, liquid biopsy experts discussed the role of ctDNA for monitoring a patient’s tumor response over time and developed a whitepaper that laid the rationale for the use of ctDNA as a feasible and less-invasive method to assess tumor response to treatment in patients with cancer. The whitepaper also proposed a framework for a uniform collection method that would enable the aggregation and comparison of data and findings across different studies within and across different disease sites and stages.
Building on the whitepaper and feedback from the 2018 Annual Meeting, Friends developed a proposal for this project. In February 2019, Friends hosted a full-day roundtable meeting to review the proposal.