Freenome kicks off study melding multiomics blood test, real-world data for cancer screening

Freenome has already proven its flagship liquid biopsy’s ability to detect cancer as early as possible, thanks to a homegrown platform that uses computational biology and machine learning techniques to analyze each blood sample.

A newly launched clinical trial will add another layer to the analysis process, folding in real-world data to potentially improve the blood test’s accuracy and highlight ways to make it more accessible in actual clinical settings.

The trial—which has yet to begin recruiting—is expected to ultimately reach a pool of 8,000 participants comprising adults aged 30 and older who are either cancer-free or have been newly diagnosed and haven’t yet begun treatment. The researchers are aiming to wrap up the study by early 2025, according to the national clinical trials database.

Most of Freenome’s trials are named for employees’ family members diagnosed with cancer, and the Sanderson study is no exception: It’s named after the father of an engineer at the startup, according to a Tuesday release.

Freenome’s cancer detection platform takes a multiomics approach to analyzing blood samples, meaning it performs not only genomic analyses but also transcriptomic, methylomic and proteomic readings to delve even deeper into each patient’s biological makeup.

The platform relies on machine learning and computational biology to scan those analyses and look for microscopic genetic changes and other markers found both within and outside of tumors linked to the earliest stages of cancer.

And adding real-world clinical data to the mix, according to Freenome, will provide even more material for the platform’s technology to sift through for signs of disease. The Sanderson study will focus specifically on improving the company’s detection and prediction models for high-risk patients with particularly pernicious forms of cancer, such as pancreatic and lung cancers.

Additionally, by integrating real-world data into the platform in the study—and therefore highlighting how routine clinical information may be linked to early signs of cancer—the company said it’s aiming to fill in the missing links between clinical research and actual clinical impact.

“We’re incorporating real-world data with a precision health mindset on clinical actionability,” Lance Baldo, M.D., Freenome’s chief medical officer, said in the release. “Our goal is to identify the right patient for the right screening tests at the right time, with clear next steps.”

A handful of other trials of Freenome’s multi-cancer detection tests are already in full swing. Its PREEMPT CRC trial, focusing specifically on colorectal cancer, completed enrollment of more than 35,000 participants earlier this year.

And in February, Freenome launched yet another clinical trial: the Vallania study—named for the mother of a Freenome scientist—which aims to enroll 5,500 patients to help refine the multiomics platform’s ability to detect a wide variety of cancers.