Helping to Diagnose Lung Cancer Earlier

Boston University research contributed to the development of the Percepta Genomic Sequencing Classifier, a product of Veracyte, Inc., designed to help determine the risk of lung cancer and guide the next steps for patients being evaluated for potentially cancerous lung nodules.


People who smoke have a higher probability of getting lung cancer. Early detection can lead to better outcomes, but early detection can be difficult due to access limits for biopsies deep in the lung and limits on image resolution for very early signs of cancer.


Evaluate the genomic changes in relatively accessible airway tissues located within the field of injury. For example, airway brushings taken from the bronchial tube are easier to access than lung tissue. Percepta uses genomic signatures in the upper airway to provide information about lung cancer risk in the same individual.


Avrum Spira, a BU School of Medicine professor of medicine, pathology, and bioinformatics, and a researcher in the genomics and early detection of lung cancer, spun Allegro Diagnostics out of his laboratory to inspire the development of these types of genomic tests based on his research. Allegro was subsequently acquired by Veracyte, which went on to develop Percepta.


A new tool is available to clinicians to aid in the early detection of lung cancer.