Hide and Seek: Searching for Cancer in the Blood

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Oct 07, 2014
from 05:30 PM to 06:30 PM


Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1

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0116 252 2320

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Professor Jacqui Shaw

Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine

Lecture SummaryProfessor Jacqui Shaw

We are moving into the era of personalized medicine, where molecularly targeted therapy can be selected based on knowledge of the key genetic alterations that drive malignancy in each tumour. However, tissue is not always available and tissue biopsy can be costly, painful and a potential risk to the patient. The “liquid biopsy” is therefore an attractive alternative, to detect and monitor cancer by blood tests.  The current FDA-approved liquid biopsy measures the number of circulating tumour cells (CTC) in a blood sample to give information about overall survival. However, many patients with cancer do not have any CTCs in their blood even when they have advanced disease.  The potential predictive value of circulating free tumour derived DNA in the blood, termed circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), as a liquid biopsy is much more exciting. This ctDNA based liquid biopsy allows us to “see” genetic changes that are happening in a cancer in real time and hopefully help us to target therapy accordingly.

This inaugural lecture will summarize highlights of my research career over the last 20 or so years at Leicester. I will discuss the development of my interests in cancer research with particular emphasis on the liquid biopsy and what we can learn about cancer through the blood.


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