CCR meeting 23 November 2017
Location:Seminar Room, The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR)
A/Prof Therese Becker from the Ingham Institute will be giving us a talk on "Circulating Tumor Cells and Circulating Tumor Nucleic Acids as Clinical Biomarkers."
Dr Becker is the Program leader of the Circulating Tumour Cell Program, Medical Oncology Group, UNSW. Her group investigates the use of liquid biopsies to guide prognosis and therapy as well as monitor cancer progression and relapse. They are isolating circulating tumour cells CTCs using the IsoFlux platform for CTCs and various assays to isolate circulating nucleic acids (ctNAs) and have established assays to analyse CTC numbers, gene-amplification including AR, oncogenic driver- or resistance driving point mutations, expression of gene variants such as the AR-v7 fromCTCs and plasma samples.
They are also focussing on the isolation of potentially more aggressive CTCs and are currently preparing a manuscript detailing the improved isolation and identification of CTCs that show markers of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT).Between 1999 and 2013 Dr Becker was a post-doctoral associate at the Westmead Millennium Institute and analysed the biological basis of the melanoma predisposition gene and tumour suppressor, p16INK4a and melanoma associated oncogenic driver mutations in BRAF and NRAS. With the development of targeted BRAF inhibitors she focussed on relapse associated resistance mechanisms and identified novel mutations in the MAPK pathway as well as BRAF amplification as BRAF-inhibitor resistance mechanisms in established resistant melanoma cell lines and in patient tissue upon relapse.