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Liquid biopsy tumor monitoring for melanoma patients (MeLB)

Within the MeLB project the automation and standardization of liquid biopsy methods are investigated. Microfluidics methods are applied in order to isolate circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) from blood samples, followed by parallelized quantification of DNA mutations using digital multiplex mediator probe PCR.

The fundamental principle of liquid biopsy is the quantification of circulating biomarkers in easy-to-access body fluids, as an alternative to invasive and potentially risk-associated tissue biopsies. One particularly promising analyte in this context is circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), which has the potential to significantly improve cancer therapy management and facilitate earlier identification of relapse compared to current methods. Microfluidic enrichment techniques and digital PCR (dPCR) are considered promising technologies for the enrichment of low concentrations of ctDNA in a blood sample and for the quantification of specific mutation sequences. However, in order for ctDNA analysis to be widely adopted into clinical practice, standardized and validated methods are required throughout the entire analytical process, from blood sampling to DNA quantification. That is where the MeLB project comes in: It aims to standardize blood sampling, automate the extraction of ctDNA from whole blood using microfluidic methods, develop and validate digital multiplex Mediator Probe PCR assays, standardize and reduce the costs of dPCR analysis, and demonstrate the utility of the developed technologies using clinical samples from melanoma patients. The implementation of these standardized and validated methods from sample-to-answer will facilitate the widespread adoption of ctDNA into clinical practice, thus improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer for a greater number of patients.

Automatisierung und Standardisierung von Liquid Biopsy Tumor-Monitoring am Anwendungsbeispiel Melanom (MeLB)
AiF - Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen "Otto von Guericke" e.V.
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie
Funding Number
IGF-Vorhaben-Nr. 22486 N
01.07.2022 to 31.12.2024
Cooperation Partner
University Freiburg, Department for Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK), Lab for MEMS Applications and Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Klinik für Hämatologie und Onkologie
Maturity Level
Functional model



  • Assay Development
  • Nucleic Acid Analysis
  • Lab-on-a-Chip
  • Liquid Biopsy