The emerging blood test helping to spot cancer earlier

Posted by pt91 at Jun 12, 2017 10:42 AM |
University of Leicester cancer scientist to present research on liquid biopsy at Frank May Prize Lecture on 26 June

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 12 June 2017

Photograph of Professor Jacqui Shaw available to download (credit: University of Leicester) at:

Research into a blood test that may spot cancers sooner and allow more targeted treatment is to be presented by a University of Leicester researcher.

Professor Jacqui Shaw from the University’s Department of Cancer Studies will give the Frank May Prize Lecture 2017 on 26 June at 5.30pm entitled ‘The liquid biopsy, an emerging blood test for cancer’. It takes place in the Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building and is free and open to the public.

The lecture will explain how the liquid biopsy could offer an effective alternative to detect and monitor cancer through blood based tests, rather than through a tissue biopsy. It will summarise key highlights of Professor Shaw’s liquid biopsy research at Leicester focussing on clinical studies and trials in breast and lung cancers.

Professor Shaw, Professor of Translational Cancer Genetics, said: “This liquid biopsy allows us to ‘see’ genetic changes that are happening in a cancer in real time through tiny fragments of DNA, termed circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), that are released into the blood stream from dying cancer cells.

“Analysis of this ctDNA is helping to detect cancer earlier than imaging, stratify patients to targeted treatments and monitor their response to this treatment. As the liquid biopsy comes of age the next step is to move this approach into the clinic for patient benefit.”

Professor Shaw, a University of Leicester graduate, has been at the forefront of circulating tumour DNA research for over 17 years, she has current substantive funding from Cancer Research UK in breast cancer and as the cfDNA lead for TRACERx, the national Cancer Research UK funded trial in non-small cell lung cancer. She also leads the cfDNA advisory group for the 100,000 Genomes project led by Genomics England.

The Frank May Prize Lecture was established in the early nineties, endowed by the generosity of Dr Frank May and is delivered annually by a member of the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology at the University of Leicester.

The Frank May Prize Lecture is free and open to members of the public. To book a place please click here:


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