Pre-Conference Focus Day

This dedicated focus day will explore circulating tumor DNA in gastrointestinal cancer - from a patient selection, prognostic and therapeutic response perspective to aid the unmet need for early and specific detection, determining correct treatment plans, and optimizing drug performance for the best outcome in GI cancers.

All agenda timings below are displayed in EST. For PST, please download the full program here.

12:00 pm Chair’s Opening Remarks: Setting the Scene – The Transition to Liquid Biopsy & What is ctDNA, How Has Precision Oncology Utilized it for Liquid Biopsy?


  • What are the recent technical advancements in liquid biopsy & how have they offered clinicians and drug developers benefit to their patients?
  • How has the rapidly expanding landscape of ctDNA been used in screening, early detection & disease monitoring in GI cancers?
  • What barriers are preventing wider adoption in clinical trial programs and real-world practice?
  • The importance of understanding the challenges of sensitivity & specificity for early-stage disease

A Case Study-Led Look into Developing ctDNA as a Diagnostic/Patient Selection Tool in GI Cancer

12:10 pm Utilizing ctDNA & LBx for Rare Targets in mCRC

  • Benny Johnson Assistant Professor- Gastrointestinal & Medical Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center

12:40 pm The Power of a Personalized ctDNA Assay for MRD Detection & Monitoring in GI Cancers

1:10 pm The Role of Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) in Amplification Driven Solid Tumors


  • What ecDNA is and the functional implications of ecDNA in cancer
  • How ecDNA driven tumors have evaded previous targeted drug approaches. New drug approaches need to be developed, in a precision medicine fashion, to target these tumors
  • Assessing ecDNA in tumors is part of the precision strategy, and to be complete, methods for circulating ecDNA measurements must be developed to both diagnose and monitor

1:40 pm Networking Lunch

A Case Study-Led Look into Developing ctDNA as a Prognostic Tool in GI Cancer

2:10 pm Liquid Biopsy: From Pre-Analytics To Data Interpretation

  • Umberto Malapelle Chief Supervisor, Predictive Molecular Pathology Laboratory, Department of Public Health, University of Naples Federico II


  • ctDNA, NGS, data analysis

2:40 pm NCI SBIR: Accelerating Cancer Technologies From Lab to Market


  • The SBIR & STTR Programs are one of the largest sources of early-stage technology financing in the United States
  • The SBIR & STTR Funds are non-dilutive, no strings attached
  • Solutions for cancers with low survival rates, such as pancreatic adenocarcinoma are particularly encouraged to apply

3:10 pm Live CTC Genomics for Gastric Cancer Therapy Predictions


  • As incidental findings, viable CTC and tumour spheres were cultured in cancer risk patients for custom made drug testing
  • Established single step viable head and neck cancer CTC and tumour spheres count for radiotherapy predictions
  • In translating our peer-reviewed findings, cancer risk viable CTC and tumour spheres were tested for SFRP4, cisplatin and combination treatment towards sensitisation approach

3:40 pm Networking break

Case Study-Led Look into Developing ctDNA as a Therapeutic Response Tool to Spearhead Your Pipeline

4:10 pm Revealing The Hidden


  • Cancer treatment is a continuous process; every patient needs to be monitored with molecular assays during and after the intervention. Therefore, “Precision Oncology” is crucial and should be emphasized more often
  • Circulating tumor DNA has much to offer but is hard to extract compared to FFPE tissues. Techniques with greater precision (e.g. droplet digital PCR) reveals the hidden or suppressed warnings in the blood
  • Monitoring the ctDNA in a period of time is very advantageous to plan the treatment and has a significant benefit for the patient as it reduces the usage of ineffective chemo drugs and unnecessary radiological examinations
  • Quickly and provide large datasets for drug developers to give accurate response in this dynamic progressions

4:40 pm ctDNA Analysis for Molecular Profiling & Treatment Monitoring in GI Cancer

  • Tae-You Kim Professor, Division of Medical Oncology & Founder & CEO, Seoul National University Hospital & IMB Diagnostics


  • ctDNA analysis as a powerful tool to capture tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution
  • Application of ctDNA analysis across the continuum of cancer care
  • Emerging technology of genome-wide methylation and fragmentomics for early cancer detection and screening

5:10 pm Speaker & Audience Discussion


  • Overcoming the questions and challenges of reproducibility and
    sensitivity, cost of technology, management of the pre-analytical phase,
    ctDNA applications for early and late stage disease and how we can
    ensure maximum patients are benefiting from this technology

5:30 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks & End Of Focus Day