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Your Environment. Your Health.

NIEHS Inflammation Faculty Workshop: Circulating Cell Free DNA: Applications in the Clinical and Toxicology Setting

September 24–25, 2018

Circulating Cell Free DNA

Symposium Materials

Background and Scientific Need

Sequence analysis of extracellular DNA circulating in blood is an exciting development in clinical and experimental medicine liquid biopsy applications. Circulating, cell free DNA (ccfDNA) with its short half life is normally found in blood at low concentrations (ng/ml) when DNA of nuclear or mitochondrial origin is released after cellular breakdown. First described in the 1940's, ccfDNA has recently been coupled with targeted or genome-wide sequencing to emerge as a novel, non-invasive tool in disease diagnosis, staging and biomarker discovery. Liquid biopsies have gained much attention in a variety of clinical conditions such as cancer, maternal/fetal disorders, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and sepsis. New areas of utilization include molecular epidemiology, predictive toxicology and precision medicine. This NIEHS workshop explores applications and utilities of ccfDNA in research and lessons learned from the clinical setting while introducing its development as a potential means to investigate and predict similar disease outcomes in exposure biology and toxicology.

Workshop Framework

The workshop, sponsored by the NIEHS Inflammation Faculty, was organized into three major sessions over 1.5 days and connects 1) technical isolation and features of ccfDNA; 2) clinical applications using ccfDNA; and 3) experimental and environmental applications. Background with regards to ccfDNA isolation technologies and sequence characterizations are presented on day one with speakers discussing their research project and experiences in ccfDNA research in the fields of cancer, maternal/fetal and autoimmune disorders. The final half-day was dedicated to a poster session with selected poster presentations, and concludes with a panel discussion into future research directions for the ccfDNA and liquid biopsy field that had been formulated from proceedings of the workshop. The NIEHS ccfDNA workshop committee invited all attendees to submit a poster related to their work with ccfDNA. Attendees selected for a platform presentation will receive a travel award to attend the meeting.

This workshop brought together experts investigating ccfDNA in the clinical and toxicology disciplines sharing lessons learned and providing direction for the liquid biopsy tool to be utilized in environmental health science.


Michael C. Humble
Mike Humble, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator, Basic Science
Tel 984-287-3272
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop K3-15
Durham, N.C. 27709
Julie Foley
Julie F. Foley
Health Scientist
Tel 984-287-3129
P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop E0-01
Durham, N.C. 27709
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