2014 Archived Content

Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Eighth Annual

Cancer Molecular Markers

Guiding Cancer Management

February 10-12, 2014 | Moscone North Convention Center | San Francisco, CA


The availability of validated cancer biomarkers for the diagnosis of cancer remains limited. Various types of biomarkers will be evaluated, then compared and contrasted for their use. Epigenetic, exosome, EMT, cell-free DNA, and circulating tumor cells will be examined for profiling, characterization, and precise diagnosis of cancer. Each one will be considered for the ultimate test: the ability to validate it forclinical use.

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Download Brochure 

Tuesday, February 11

7:00 am Registration and Morning Coffee

8:00 Plenary Keynote Session (Click Here For More Details) 



9:15 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


10:25 Chairperson’s Remarks

Steven A. Soper, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry; William H. Pryor Emeritus Professor, Director, Center for BioModular Multi-Scale Systems, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

10:30 Single-Cell Analyses Identifying EMT-Related Biomarkers for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Chun-Liang Chen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor/Research, Molecular Medicine, Institute of Biotechnology, Cancer Therapy and Research Center, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Single-cell approaches are used to study EMT-related markers of CTCs for metastatic prostate cancer detection and prediction. Markers are identified using microfluidics and atomic force microscope (AFM) for molecular profiling and nanomechanical and nanochemical phenotypes of CTCs, respectively.

11:00 Integrated System for the Efficient Analysis of CTC Sub-populations with Divergent Phenotypes

Steven A. Soper, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry; William H. Pryor Emeritus Professor, Director, Center for BioModular Multi-Scale Systems, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Rare CTC sub-populations can be isolated directly from whole blood using the appropriate markers and processed for molecular signatures to identify key drivers of, for example, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transitions that may be associated with spawning metastatic disease. New microfluidic systems and assays for processing CTC sub-populations and their molecular signatures will be discussed.

11:30 Characterizing Breast Cancer CTCs for Brain Metastasis Competence

Dario Marchetti, Ph.D., Professor, Pathology & Immunology and Molecular & Cellular Biology; Director, CTC Core Facility, Baylor College of Medicine

We report novel strategies investigating breast cancer CTCs isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with or without clinically diagnosed brain metastasis. We demonstrated the metastatic competency of CTCs and necessity of a specific CTC profile to promote brain metastasis. These results and strategies can have high impact towards developing new and effective therapies combating breast cancer metastasis in general, brain metastasis in particular.

12:00 pm Characterization of Circulating Large Cells Isolated by ScreenCell-Filtration in Renal Tumor Patients

Karoline Lackner, M.D., Professor, Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Medical University of Graz

Circulating non-hematologic cells (CNHCs) - putative CTCs/CTMs - isolated from blood by ScreenCell filtration in 40 patients with renal tumors were characterized. We found that CNHC-clusters with malignant or uncertain malignant cytomorphological features were CD45neg/CD31pos. Array-CGH revealed a balanced genome in 83% of cytomorphologically malignant/uncertain malignant CNHC-clusters whereas 17% showed genomic DNA imbalances not found in the primary tumors. Thus the majority of CNHC-clusters may be of endothelial origin. 

12:30 Enjoy Lunch on Your Own 

1:40 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing 


2:15 Chairperson’s Remarks

Stefanie Jeffrey, M.D., John & Marva Warnock Professor, Surgery, Chief of Surgical Oncology Research, Stanford University School of Medicine

2:20 The Clinical Application of Circulating Tumor DNA

Luis A. Diaz, M.D., Associate Professor, Oncology, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

We developed a dynamic biomarker based on this premise utilizing highly sensitive digital PCR-based and next-generation sequencing-based assays. Ongoing efforts are expanding the role of ctDNA measurements in a variety of clinical scenarios and for the genotyping of patients enrolled in clinical trials. This technology is also being incorporated into the human clinical trials as a companion diagnostic measuring key predictive mutations in the blood.

2:50 Detection of Circulating Tumor DNA by Deep Sequencing

Maximilian Diehn, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology, Stanford Cancer Institute, Institute for Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University

This presentation will discuss detection of circulating tumor DNA using deep sequencing and its potential clinical applications.

3:20 Clinical Utility of Cell-Free DNA/miRNA: Present and Future

David Hoon, MSc, Ph.D., Director, Molecular Oncology, John Wayne Cancer Institute

Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has evolved into a provocative new approach of assessing genomic and epigenomic alterations in cancer patients’ blood. In recent years, cfDNA has been shown to be a potential blood biomarker for monitoring tumor progression.


3:50 Genomic Testing in Oncology: Toward Truly Personalized Cancer Management 

Daniel S. Grosu, M.D., MBA, CMO, Diagnostics, Illumina Inc.

Rapid advances in next-generation sequencing technology are now enabling routine interrogation of tumor genetics on an unprecedented scale. From deep targeted panels to whole genome sequencing, innovative research tools are providing critical new insights into tumor biology, paving the way for earlier diagnosis and more personalized treatment. Emerging methods based on circulating tumor DNA are particularly exciting as they hold the promise of noninvasive tumor detection and characterization, with potential applications across the continuum of cancer care.

4:20 Valentine’s Day Celebration in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

5:20 Breakout Discussions in the Exhibit Hall 

These interactive discussion groups are open to all attendees, speakers, sponsors, & exhibitors. Participants choose a specific breakout discussion group to join. Each group has a moderator to ensure focused discussions around key issues within the topic. This format allows participants to meet potential collaborators, share examples from their work, vet ideas with peers, and be part of a group problem-solving endeavor. The discussions provide an informal exchange of ideas and are not meant to be a corporate or specific product discussion. 

Extracting Biological Information from WGS/WES 

German Pihan, M.D., Director, Hematopathology Lab, Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & Harvard Medical School 

  • Searching for pearls in rough seas: Finding cancer genome sequence variants with predictable clinical impact. 
  • Imagining cancer biology: In silico prediction and modelling of the biological impact of cancer genome variants. 
  • Quo vadis cancer genome: What's next in the analysis of cancer genomes? 

Exosomes:  Research Trends and Diagnostic Potential  

Enal Razvi, Ph.D., Biotechnology Analyst  

  • Research Methodology and Approaches for Exosome Isolation 
  • Interrogating the Biomarker Cargo in Exosomes 
  • Potential of Exosomes for Diagnostics 
  • Current Status of the Field and Drivers of Opportunity 

6:30 Close of Day


Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Download Brochure 


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