Project LUNAR to Study Blood Test for Early Cancer Detection

Northwestern Medicine
Clinical Trials and Research June 28, 2016
Massimo Cristofanilli, MDOncologists and researchers have long sought a minimally invasive, highly sensitive and specific multi-cancer test as a more effective way to catch cancer in its earliest stages, when treatment and prognosis are most promising. An ambitious initiative, Project LUNAR, will study the efficacy of Guardant Health’s liquid biopsy, Guardant360, for detecting early-stage cancer. 

Researchers from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, UC San Francisco, Samsung Medical Center, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and other institutions will study the ability of Guardant Health's technology to detect cancer at early stages in high-risk populations. Guardant Health has already collected samples from multiple trial sites in breast, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers, with pilot data expected in the second half of 2016.

Guardant expects to enroll thousands of patients in multi-site, multi-arm prospective clinical trials that will demonstrate first the feasibility and then efficacy of early detection of the deadliest cancers, through the integrated use of cell free DNA, imaging, germline risk assessment, and other highly complementary technologies.

"The LUNAR technology, with its great sensitivity necessary for early detection, will establish a new frontier in cancer diagnostics, allowing use of a biological signal instead of standard imaging, and possibly one day replacing invasive procedures," said Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, associate director for precision medicine and translational research at the Lurie Cancer Center, oncologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Cristofanilli, who is also Director of the OncoSET Program at the Lurie Cancer Center, is one of the Principal Investigators of the LUNAR-Breast study. "The potential applications in breast cancer and other solid tumors can go far beyond early detection to monitor the efficacy and detect resistance to systemic therapies in adjuvant and neo-adjuvant settings."

Read more about Project LUNAR

Read more about Lurie Cancer Center OncoSET, a personalized approach to precision medicine

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