Tuesday, May 7, 2024

AI Corner: AI Summarizes: FOCR's Initiative for ctDNA

 I've been enjoying the exploration of what AI can do in when tasked with summarizing documents.  Here's a case study.   This morning's email brought a press release from Friends of Cancer Research about a new publication, McKelvey et al., on ctDNA uses and accuracy in cancer monitoring.   The press release also linked to a FOCR web page about the ongoing project and plans.

I gave the press release, the McKelvey article  [open access] and the ctDNA website to ChatGPT4 and asked for a summarizing article.  Result below.

You might enjoy comparing the FOCR ctDNA landscape by McKelvey with another new article, by Bronkhorst, on "the landscape of methodologies, technologies, and commercialization."  Here.  AI comparison of Bronkhorst and McKelvey here.


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Friends of Cancer Research Launches ctMoniTR Project 

for Circulating Tumor DNA Research

Washington, DC – May 7, 2024

Friends of Cancer Research, a prominent cancer advocacy organization, has recently published a groundbreaking study in the journal Diagnostics examining circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). The study, "Advancing Evidence Generation for ctDNA: Lessons Learned from A Multi-Assay Study of Baseline ctDNA Levels Across Cancer Types and Stages," provides critical insights into the use of ctDNA as a biomarker in oncology.

ctMoniTR Project Overview

The ctMoniTR Project, launched by Friends of Cancer Research, aims to evaluate the potential of ctDNA as a predictor of clinical responses to therapy across various solid tumors. The organization formed a collaboration involving multiple commercial ctDNA assay developers to assess baseline ctDNA levels across different cancer types and stages. The project focuses on establishing ctDNA as an early endpoint in oncology drug development, which can facilitate faster identification and development of effective treatments​​​​​​.

Key Findings

The study highlights the promise of ctDNA as a biomarker and surrogate for disease burden. The collaborative effort found that baseline ctDNA levels were similarly detected across late-stage cancers such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), breast, bladder, prostate, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This similarity underscores the potential for ctDNA to be used as a biomarker in these cancer types. However, the study also revealed variability in ctDNA levels across different assays in early-stage NSCLC, indicating the need for standardized assay analytical performance and methodology​​.

Critical Insights and Future Directions

Dr. Brittany Avin McKelvey, the study's lead author and Director of Regulatory Affairs at Friends of Cancer Research, emphasized the importance of meta-analyses across multiple cancer types and ctDNA assays to support the future use of ctDNA as an early endpoint. The study underscores the necessity of developing common data standards and key performance characteristics to generate robust evidence for ctDNA's use as a biomarker and early endpoint in oncology.

Dr. Jeff Allen, President and CEO of Friends of Cancer Research, highlighted the importance of this unique partnership in providing foundational evidence regarding ctDNA levels across different tumor types and stages. The organization's ctMoniTR Project is an ongoing effort to generate evidence for ctDNA's potential in oncology drug development and patient care​​.


The collaborative efforts of Friends of Cancer Research and its partners have led to significant advances in the understanding of ctDNA's role in oncology. The ctMoniTR Project is poised to play a crucial role in advancing cancer research, potentially leading to faster drug development and improved patient outcomes.

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