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Blood test for clinical therapy guidance of non-small cell lung cancer patients (LungCARD)
Start date: Jan 1, 2017, End date: Dec 31, 2020 PROJECT  ONGOING 

Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. NSCLC alone make up about 75% of all lung cancers and most hospitals currently test all NSCLC patients for EGFR mutations (pharmacogenomics) for treatment decision (personalised medicine) – i.e., patients with mutation(s) in EGFR gene should receive a EGFR-Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) drug (e.g. afitinib) treatment; while those that do not present mutations in such gene, should be treated with chemotherapy. Currently, the laboratories use PCR and Sanger sequencing technologies to perform the EGFR analysis from tumour biopsies - Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) samples. Still, some patients (e.g., 30% in UK) may never get histological confirmation because they are too sick to make a biopsy. Furthermore, the results obtained with current methods still present low quality, mainly due to poor quality/low yield of DNA extracted from FFPE samples. The FP7 LungCARD project (www.lungcard.eu) has developed and demonstrated a LungCARD system - an automatic system composed by microfluidic chip and chip analyser - that allows to capture circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from blood samples, amplify by multiplex PCR and detect EGFR mutations, including also a software for data analysis and report. Although this new blood test has proven to be faster, cost-effective and human error-free, the detection of somatic mutations in EGFR gene at frequencies lower than 20% is still a weak point. Therefore, the main project’s goal is to benefit from this technology, through the development, improvement, integration and validation of the LungCARD system with NGS workflow and development of a software for automatic reporting clinical results. However, LungCARD project aims to go further, by putting together a global and unique network of multidisciplinary scientists for exchange of knowledge and research training focused on non-small cell lung cancer.
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