When it comes to treating cancer, an early diagnosis is key. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor Genetics and Miraca Research Institute are working to develop a minimally invasive test that could diagnose cancer with a blood test. They will examine the efficacy of new liquid biopsy research using extracellular vesicles (EVs), with the aim of creating a test that could be used in a clinical setting.

“We are excited to work with Miraca Research Institute with the goal of helping our patients detect cancer early so that we can prevent it,” said Dr. Shashikant Kulkarni, chief scientific officer and senior vice president of Baylor Genetics and professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. “In patients who already have cancer, we want to use this tool to better monitor the response to therapy.”

Liquid biopsy can evaluate cancer conditions through substances in the blood, urine and body fluids. The test can be used to diagnose a disease and predict drug response. This research will analyze EVs called exosomes, from liquid biopsy specimens. EVs are around 100 nanometer particles that contain RNA, DNA, and proteins and have a lipid bilayer membrane. Biologically, exosomes have been shown to be capable of intercellular communication and modulation of the tumor microenvironment.

Under this collaboration, Baylor Genetics researchers will use Miraca Research Institute’s IP-claimed analytical tools to evaluate the clinical utility of EVs. They hope to discover new biomarkers that can be used in clinical testing.

“This collaborative research will bring together our genetic testing capability, Baylor College of Medicine’s skillful basic research expertise and Miraca Research Institute’s technical know-how in this area,” said Kengo Takishima, chief exectuive officer of Baylor Genetics. “We hope this novel relationship will lead to further collaborative opportunities in order to take advantage of each entity’s strengths and to provide state-of-the-art patient care.”