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Aptamer-Based ADAPT Platform from Caris Life Sciences Detects Breast Cancer in Women via Liquid Biopsy of Circulating Exosomes

Caris Life Sciences®, a leading innovator in molecular science focused on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, announced, on February 21, 2017, the results of a study that demonstrates the ability of the company’s ADAPT Biotargeting System™ to detect and classify women with or without breast cancer based on a minimally-invasive liquid biopsy of circulating exosomes from blood plasma. The study was published in Nature’s Scientific Reports ( on February 20. The open-access article is titled “Plasma Exosome Profiling of Cancer Patients by a Next Generation Systems Biology Approach.” “The ability to accurately detect breast cancer with a minimally-invasive blood-based method that covers a systems-wide range of biomarkers would offer a significant advance in breast cancer diagnosis and patient management,” said Dr. Lee Schwartzberg (not involved in the research), Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “Results of this study provide a potential future opportunity to address shortcomings in the current standard of diagnostic testing utilizing mammography and other imaging techniques, which frequently generate indeterminate results that can result in patients facing invasive tissue biopsies.” The ADAPT Biotargeting System uses a highly complex library of single-stranded molecules called oligodeoxynucleotide (ssODNs) aptamers that bind to individual and multi-component targets, enabling them to profile biological samples at a systems-wide scale. In the study published in Scientific Reports, a parent library of approximately 1011 ssODNs was “trained,” or enriched, for aptamers that preferentially associate either with plasma exosomes from women with breast cancer or with plasma exosomes from women without breast cancer.

The trained library was then tested against an independent set of plasma exosomes from women with or without disease. Aptamer-mediated affinity purification and mass spectrometry identified low-abundance exosome-associated proteins and protein complexes associated with the two groups. A blinded evaluation of 500 samples from healthy women and breast cancer-positive patients distinguished the two groups independently of breast tissue density.

“Exosomes are increasingly recognized as a rich source of meaningful information underlying healthy and diseased states because they reflect the dynamic alterations of cellular processes during tumor progression,” said Michael Famulok, Ph.D., Professor at the Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES)-Institute, University of Bonn, Germany, and co-author of the paper.

“This study is important because the results provide proof-of-concept supporting the characterization of complex phenotypes by using an unbiased aptamer-based and minimally-invasive profiling platform. While more work is required before a clinical offering is available, we are encouraged by these findings that indicate the potential of the ADAPT Biotargeting System to improve cancer diagnostics using this innovative approach.”

“This paper represents a new and novel method for diagnostics that is based on the unbiased profiling of molecular signatures obtained from liquid biopsies from breast cancer patients,” said David Spetzler, Ph.D., M.B.A., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Caris Life Sciences, and co-author of the paper.

“This proof-of-concept study of our ADAPT Biotargeting platform in the diagnostics space provides evidence of the platform’s potential for other applications such as drug target discovery and development, biomarker identification and therapeutics.”
Among the other authors of the article were Dr. John Quakenbush and Dr. George Poste.


Caris Life Sciences® is a leading innovator in molecular science focused on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine through quality and innovation. The company’s ADAPT Biotargeting System™ is a revolutionary and unbiased profiling platform with applications across therapy development, drug delivery, advanced diagnostics, and disease monitoring. Currently being developed for cancer and other complex diseases, the ADAPT Biotargeting System is able to simultaneously measure millions of molecular interactions within complex biological systems in their natural state(s).

Caris also offers comprehensive tumor profiling services through its patented and proprietary product, Caris Molecular Intelligence® (CMI). With more than 110,000 clinical cases, CMI provides oncologists with the most clinically actionable treatment options available to personalize cancer care today. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Caris Life Sciences offers services throughout the U.S., Europe, and other international markets. To learn more, please visit

[Press release] [Scientific Reports article]