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NCI to Fund Studies on Liquid Biopsy, Imaging Combos for Cancer Monitoring

NEW YORK — The National Cancer Institute said this week that it intends to fund research into the combination of imaging and liquid biopsies for tracking patient responses to cancer therapies and the emergence of treatment resistance.

In its funding opportunity announcement, the NCI said that it aims to promote research that will determine the appropriate use of in vivo molecular or functional clinical imaging modalities alongside liquid biopsy assays such as those that measure circulating tumor cells or tumor DNA.

"Importantly, the chosen liquid biopsy and imaging method must already be developed and validated (or in final validation) for clinical application," the agency noted. "This initiative is not intended to support the development of novel imaging or liquid biopsy methods."

The NCI said that funded research should provide insights into the integration of imaging and liquid biopsy approaches such as the minimal fluid-based monitoring change that corresponds to a change detected via imaging; cancer types where tumor response or the emergence of resistance is detectable by one technology earlier than the other; and specific combinations of imaging and liquid biopsy that are most effective with particular cancers and therapy types.

The NCI said that application budgets are limited to $499,000 in annual direct costs, with a maximum project period of 5 years. Additional details about the funding opportunity can be found here.