An intravenous DNA-binding priming agent protects cell-free DNA and improves the sensitivity of liquid biopsies. 2023. doi:10.1101/2023.01.13.523947
Blood-based, or "liquid," biopsies enable minimally invasive diagnostics but have limits on sensitivity due to scarce cell-free DNA (cfDNA). Improvements to sensitivity have primarily relied on enhancing sequencing technology ex vivo . Here, we sought to augment the level of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) detected in a blood draw by attenuating the clearance of cfDNA in vivo . We report a first-in-class intravenous DNA-binding priming agent given 2 hours prior to a blood draw to recover more cfDNA. The DNA-binding antibody minimizes nuclease digestion and organ uptake of cfDNA, decreasing its clearance at 1 hour by over 150-fold. To improve plasma persistence and limit potential immune interactions, we abrogated its Fc-effector function. We found that it protects GC-rich sequences and DNase-hypersensitive sites, which are ordinarily underrepresented in cfDNA. In tumor-bearing mice, priming improved tumor DNA recovery by 19-fold and sensitivity for detecting cancer from 6% to 84%. These results suggest a novel method to enhance the sensitivity of existing DNA-based cancer testing using blood biopsies.