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mutREAD method for mutational signature detection

The Opportunity: 

mutREAD is a novel DNA sequencing method that measures the presence of mutational signatures in all types of clinical and biological samples. Its unique and powerful features are expected to facilitate the widespread development and application of mutational signatures in cancer.

The Technology: 

Mutational signatures are the unique footprints which accumulate in everyone’s DNA due to exposure to various DNA damaging agents. In the context of cancer, understanding these mutational signatures can help stratify patients to receive the most effective therapies. Despite the importance of signatures in cancer biology, our ability to study them in a clinical setting is limited by current technologies. Gold standard methods such as Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) require significant amounts of high-quality DNA to be extracted from fresh or frozen samples. As the majority of historical samples are stored in formalin-fixed blocks (FFPE), and fresh frozen sample collection is not routinely performed in the clinic, studies of signatures and their clinical implication are limited. Mutational Signature Detection by Restriction Enzyme-Associated DNA Sequencing (mutREAD) was developed to address these problems and enable the clinical implementation of valuable mutational signature information.  

mutREAD is a novel DNA sequencing method that measures the presence of mutational signatures in all types of clinical and biological samples (fresh frozen and formalin fixed-paraffin embedded - FFPE). It requires little FFPE material and employs a straightforward protocol involving only one hour of hands-on work. The method does not require specialised equipment and can decrease the cost of sequencing 10-fold when compared to WGS.  The Nature Communications paper below describes the method and demonstrates why it is expected to allow the widespread development and application of mutational signatures in cancer.

Cancer Research UK is seeking a commercial partner for licensing or collaboration to bring this promising patented technology, developed in the Fitzgerald lab at the University of Cambridge, to market.

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