June 14, 2019 – AI and DNA


Anchor lead: A new approach to finding cancer DNA in the blood has been developed, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Your blood may hold the key to early detection of cancer since DNA circulating there can be detected and analyzed, hopefully spotting the disease early. A new approach to analyzing this DNA  known by the acronym DELFI has been developed by Victor Velculescu and colleagues at Johns Hopkins, along with colleagues worldwide.

Velculescu: The DELFI approach uses machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence, to identify abnormal patterns of DNA fragments in the blood of patients with cancer. By studying these patterns we could also identify the cancerous tissue of origin in up to 75% of cases. This study represents many years of work carefully analyzing the characteristics of DNA that is in the blood of patients with cancer. DELFI is different than other liquid biopsy approaches that have been developed to date.  :29

Velculescu says other tests rely on mutations or addition of chemical groups to DNA but DELFI looks at patterns of fragments. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.