Twist Bioscience Launches Industry-Leading NGS Methylation Detection System for Liquid Biopsy Cancer Analysis and Epigenetic Studies
-- Studying Methylation Patterns Provides Unique Insight into Disease Pathology --
-- System Improves Accuracy of Results, Allows Capture of Customized Genes of Interest, Operational Efficiency --
DNA methylation plays a key role in many biological processes including cancer. When present on a single nucleotide, a methyl group can alter genetic behavior without changing the DNA sequence. Analyzing these methylation patterns provides unique understanding of disease pathology, including the ability to screen for cancer earlier using blood samples known as “liquid biopsies.”
“Methylation is one of the most interesting and informative epigenetic modifications due to its wide-reaching effects, but historically it has been difficult to study efficiently,” said Emily M. Leproust, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of
DNA methylation appears in consistent patterns across the genome, making it possible to assess multiple loci for a more specific and sensitive test. In cancer methylation, patterns appear early, providing an attractive approach for screening through revolutionary liquid biopsy tests, which are designed to detect a wide range of tumors from a single blood sample.
HelioHealth, an early access customer, is currently developing simple, accurate liquid biopsy tests for the detection of early-stage liver, colon, breast and lung cancers.
“The complex, very large panels needed to detect circulating tumor DNA early in the disease require expertise in design, robust coverage from minimal sample material, and exceptional sensitivity in detecting the change between differentially methylated regions,” said
Despite the promise of methylation detection, the approach presents many challenges, including the preparation of the blood sample and the need for multiple probes for each sequence of interest. For many years, bisulfite sequencing was considered the gold standard in methylation detection. While this method provides a quantitative readout with high throughput and single-base pair resolution, bisulfite treatment can degrade DNA samples substantially and result in specific areas not being detected, particularly for tests with a small relative volume of target DNA for study, as in liquid biopsies. In addition, effective methylation detection requires four different DNA probes for every target sequence of DNA, a substantial undertaking for complex diagnostic tests. In order to overcome these challenges, Twist has partnered with
“We developed Enzymatic Methyl-seq, or EM-seq, using a combination of enzymes to achieve highly efficient and gentle conversion of 5mC and 5hmC for downstream identification using next generation sequencing,” said
The Twist NGS Methylation Detection System begins with NEB’s EM-seq for preparation of enzymatically converted libraries, and includes the Twist Methylation Enhancer, Universal Blocker and FastHyb as well as the Twist NGS Custom Methylation Panels. The Custom Panels, a key component of the product, include DNA probes to capture all four potential sequences at a given site: methylated, unmethylated, sense and antisense, and offer the same fidelity, uniformity, and flexibility as Twist Custom Panels. Twist works with customers to create custom content unique to a particular area of focus, allowing flexibility not found using static array designs. This unique feature of the Twist System facilitates exploration of dynamic and cell-specific methylation targets or poorly understood targets found in more elusive noncoding regions at single base pair resolution.
About the Twist NGS Methylation Detection System
The Twist NGS Methylation Detection System offers state-of-the-art end-to-end methylation sequencing workflow for the improved detection of genomic methylation patterns. DNA methylation occurs when DNA methyltransferases add a methyl group to the cytosine residue of cytosine-phosphoguanine (CpG) dinucleotides. This modification contributes to a wide variety of biological processes by promoting genomic instability or transcriptional silencing. Affected processes include normal processes, like cellular differentiation, as well as abnormal ones, like carcinogenesis. Methylation levels vary substantially across the human genome, and differentially methylated regions (DMRs) can be used to identify certain cancers and other diseases.
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This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained herein, including without limitation, the ability of the Twist NGS Methylation Detection System to enable Twist customers to create better tests and/or conduct research more efficiently, are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other important factors that may cause Twist Bioscience’s actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the risks and uncertainties of the ability to attract new customers and retain and grow sales from existing customers; risks and uncertainties of rapidly changing technologies and extensive competition in synthetic biology could make the products
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