Monday 22 June, 22 members of the DCCC ctDNA center participated in the online meeting. The meeting allowed the members to orient each other about ongoing projects focusing on early cancer detection. This was also a chance to present and discuss projects to optimize them before the next round of funding from the DCCC ctDNA research center (deadline 23 October 2020).
Professor Claus Lindberg Andersen started the meeting with a presentation of the new validation project DELFI (DNA Evaluation of fragments for early interception) based on a project published in Nature in 2019 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1272-6?proof=true).
The new project aims to confirm that analysis of low pass whole genome sequencing data from blood samples using the DELFI algorithm can separate blood samples from colorectal cancer patients from those of healthy controls. Moreover, the study aims to investigate if DELFI can distinguish blood samples from adenoma carries and healthy controls.
The presentation resulted in a discussion of the procedures needed to obtain the necessary approvals from the relevant Danish authorities to conduct such study, including approval to share personal data with institutions/companies outside the EU. The procedures are many and involve a range of different Danish authorities/agencies. To obtain the approvals in a reasonable time-frame, it is advisable to work on the approvals from different authorities in parallel.
When results from the DELFI study are available, they will be presented on a CFA1 meeting, or at another potentially broader meeting within the ctDNA research center.
Next, Hans Jørgen Nielsen, MD, DMSc, presented the planned “normal variation” study. This study concerns normal variation in analytes measured in blood, and used in many studies as markers of disease, for example to distinguish blood samples from healthy individuals and diseased individuals, including analytes representing cell free tumor DNA e.g. mutations, DNA fragment lengths, DNA methylation patterns etc). The study will enroll 700 FIT-negative participants in the Danish CRC screening program. The cohort is a cross-sectional representation of Danish asymptomatic individuals in the cancer relevant age-group from 50-75 years of age. The study subjects will have 3 serial blood collections performed within a 4 week period. The cohort is excellent for assessing the normal variation in markers used to detect ctDNA. It could potentially be helpful to all CFAs within the ctDNA Research Center. Researchers who want to know more are welcome to reach out to Hans Jørgen.
In the first round of funding from the DCCC ctDNA center Professor Anders Jakobsen received funding for a project called ”Early detection of lung cancer by blood samples - A prospective national observational study”. Anders shared his application with the participants and went through the study (a project summary is on the webpage). The project is supposed to become a supplement to the screening methods used today and will hopefully help give a clear answer when the screening is otherwise inconclusive.
The meeting concluded with a run through the criteria for receiving funding from the DCCC ctDNA center. It is important to remember that only projects with a national coverage are considered for funding. The criteria’s can be found here (https://ctdna.dk/projekter/apply-for-funding) and definition of “national coverage” can be found here: https://www.dccc.dk/siteassets/sog-stotte/for-ansogere/vejledning-til-ansogere.pdf