UW Study Demonstrates Tracking of Cell-Free DNA to Origin in Body

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – In a new study published in Cell today, researchers have shown for the first time that by analyzing deeply sequenced cell-free DNA and the spacing of nucleosomes, it is possible to determine the bodily origin of individual cfDNA fragments.

Despite growing adoption of technologies that can detect mutations in circulating cfDNA, the range of information that can be gleaned from these nucleic acids has thus far been limited to distinguishing somatic mutations from background DNA in the context of diagnosing or monitoring cancer.

In the new study, researchers from the University of Washington piloted an approach to infer nucleosome patterns from sequenced cfDNA and compare them to what might be expected in DNA released from cells dying in different tissues of the body.

The method opens up for the first time the possibility of tying bits of circulating DNA to a tissue of origin or particular disease process, and explored further, the results could both expand the utility of liquid biopsy in cancer…

(Read more at GenomeWeb)

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