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The Frank May Prize Lecture 2017: 'The liquid biopsy, an emerging blood tes...

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The Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre

Henry Wellcome Building

University of Leicester

Leicester

LE1 7RH

United Kingdom

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The liquid biopsy, an emerging blood test for cancer

Lecture synopsis

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 each patient’s cancer. However, tissue is not always available and tissue biopsy can be costly, painful and a potential risk to the patient. The “liquid biopsy” is an attractive alternative to detect and monitor cancer through blood based tests. 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. This lecture will summarise key highlights of my liquid biopsy research at Leicester focussing on clinical studies and trials in breast and lung cancers. Analysis of this ctDNA is helping us 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 our next step is to move this approach into the clinic for patient benefit.

Biography

Professor Jacqui Shaw is a former Leicester graduate having studied for her undergraduate Biological Sciences degree between 1983 and 1986. She then moved to Imperial College where she completed her PhD and first post doctoral post. In 1993 she returned to Leicester as a new lecturer in the Department of Pathology where her current research interest in breast cancer developed.

Professor Shaw has been at the forefront of circulating tumour DNA research for over 17 years. She leads a research team of high international standing sustained through > £3M current grant funding. Research in her team is focussed on circulating nucleic acids for early detection and monitoring of breast cancer and her group have published several first in field papers. Her work was recommended by Faculty 1000 (F1000) as “an example of bench to bedside science that might be useful in the risk assessment and the monitoring of cancer”. Professor Shaw is also the cfDNA lead for TRACERx, the national Cancer Research UK funded trial in non-small cell lung cancer and she Shaw leads the cfDNA advisory group for the 100,000 Genomes project led by Genomics England. Professor Shaw also serves on a number of advisory and editorial boards. She has worked part time for 18 of the last 22 years and is a keen champion of women in science.

History of the Frank May Prize Lecture

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. The annual Prize Lecture can be delivered by clinical or non-clinical members of the College but the area of research must be medically related. There is a selection process for nominated candidates and the successful applicant is chosen based on evidence of research excellence during the previous two years and evidence of outstanding promise for the future.

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The Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre

Henry Wellcome Building

University of Leicester

Leicester

LE1 7RH

United Kingdom

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