Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI). High-risk genotypes types of HPV cause virtually all instances of cervical cancer.

Our MPA technology allows at least 14 high-risk HPV genotypes to be identified in a single amplification reaction using existing PCR instrumentation, probes and light filters, and minimal amounts of patient tissue. The same technology can be applied to other infectious diseases where multiple pathogens demand identification and quantification.

Cell-free DNA in plasma and Cancer

The release of cell-free DNA into the bloodstream of patients with various types of cancer, known as circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), provides a “liquid biopsy” that appears to relate to the characteristics of the source tumours. Such ctDNA has been used as a non-invasive biomarker to detect malignancy, gauge prognosis, predict & follow treatment response, and monitor recurrence. However, current methods have significant limitations in terms of analytical sensitivity (requiring that 1 -5% of DNA is tumour derived) that then impacts on costs.

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) promises to revolutionise clinical diagnostics, as well as basic research, as the technology has the capacity to generate hundreds of billions of nucleotides of DNA sequence in a single experiment at a fraction of the time (hours vs days) and cost (~£1000 for good coverage) of traditional methods. However, the sensitivity of NGS is limited by the inherent error rate of the sequencer, as incorrectly read bases might be mistaken for true mutant copies. To overcome this limitation, we have developed the TBD-Seq technology which we believe suitable for detecting rare mutations in blood-borne ctDNA.

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