Molecular diagnostics firm Trovagene is teaming up with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to investigate quantitative urine-based mutation detection—both its utility and the ability to monitor both tumor mutation burden and treatment response over time—in metastatic melanoma patients.

Using urine samples collected from patients suffering from locally advanced or metastatic melanoma known to harbor driver oncogene mutations, a Dana-Farber team led by Jason Luke, M.D., will conduct clinical studies to monitor those mutations in study participants based on urinary cell-free DNA as a specimen.

Dr. Luke said in a statement that, whereas most forms of cancer monitoring are either too invasive or don't provide enough genomic information to reveal how well tumors respond to treatment, a urine-based test has the potential to fix both of those problems. “Based on study data that Trovagene has presented at medical meetings thus far, we are encouraged that urinary cell-free DNA has potential to offer a noninvasive solution for tracking oncogene mutations during and after treatment, and this may help physicians improve patient outcomes,” he added.

Back in March, Trovagene also made a partnership with Catholic Health Initiatives Center for Translational Research to determine the effectiveness of Trovagene's urine-based cell-free DNA cancer monitoring diagnostics in clinical practice. The first study under this agreement is expected to start in 2014's second quarter.

Urine-based cancer tests likewise made the news back in February when a team from MIT announced the development of a paper test that the team claimed could reveal within minutes whether a person has cancer.

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