Epic Sciences, a San Diego, Calif.-based developer of novel diagnostics to personalize and advance the treatment and management of cancer, and the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC), a consortium for phase I/II and phase II clinical trials in prostate cancer, will collaborate to apply Epic's circulating tumor cell (CTC) technology in multiple investigator-initiated clinical trials to advance the development of new prostate cancer treatments.
"Liquid biopsies could help accelerate the clinical development of new targeted therapies to treat prostate cancer by providing rapid access to ongoing and timely information about a patient's cancer on a cellular and molecular level," said Jake Vinson, CEO at PCCTC. "We have been impressed with Epic's circulating tumor cell technology's capacity to help develop drugs in more precisely defined and biologically relevant patient groups."
Epic is developing highly informative diagnostic tests that can detail the dynamic changes in gene and protein expression that occur during the course of cancer treatments. From a simple blood test, Epic's no cell left behind technology examines approximately six million cells across more than 90 parameters to analyze all possible types of CTCs. With real-time information about both the primary tumor and secondary metastases, CTCs provide a comprehensive picture of mutations in key regulatory and biochemical pathways to inform therapeutic development, therapy selection and drug resistance mechanisms.
"Circulating tumor cells can describe the global heterogeneity of cancer in patients at multiple time points and can be used to track the genetic and proteomic changes that occur under therapeutic selection pressure," said Murali Prahalad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Epic Sciences. "Collaborating with the PCCTC, we can help advance clinical trials by using Epic's technology to monitor treatment effectiveness and understand acquired resistance."
Epic has more than 30 collaborations with pharmaceutical companies and cancer research centers spanning 67 clinical studies.
In 2005, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Department of Defense (DOD) Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) initiated the Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium (PCCTC) in response to gaps identified in prostate cancer clinical research by physician investigators and prostate cancer advocates. By establishing transparent project co-development between investigators, research sites and industry partners, the PCCTC has created a new paradigm for evaluating prostate cancer therapies. Uniform trial endpoints, the use of validated biomarkers, and the adaptation of the clinical states model of prostate cancer have further enabled accelerate drug development within the consortium. The PCCTC now is a major multi-institutional CRO consisting of a nationwide network of physicians at 15 academic institutions specializing in cutting-edge prostate cancer research.