Circulating nucleic acid biomarkers for tumour surveilance in Merkel cell carcinoma
- Research Opportunity
- Masters by Research, Honours
- Number of Honour Places Available
- Clinical Pathology
|Dr Richard Tothillemail@example.com||03 85595712||Personal web page|
|Dr Shahneen Sandhu||Shahneen.Sandhu@petermac.org||Personal web page|
MCC is a highly aggressive and often fatal neuroendocrine skin cancer linked to viral infection and excessive sun exposure. The majority of MCC (~65%) present as early stage disease, which nevertheless has an estimated 5-year survival of only 50% meaning that progression is common. Surveillance of disease recurrence is therefore an important part of patient management. Our laboratory has developed a large biomarker study involving the collection of clinically well annotated biospecimens from MCC patients, including blood and tissue samples taken before and during treatment. This mature biobank represents an excellent resource to investigate the potential utility of nucleic acid biomarkers to monitor MCC response to treatment. The honours project will involve the detection of somatic mutations in DNA extracted from blood plasma using targeted massively parallel sequencing. The detection of the tumour DNA in blood will be compared to carefully curated clinical data and FDG-PET imaging in these patients. A potential extension of this work for a masters project would involve the exploration and development of more novel methods for the detection of RNA in blood plasma or serum samples.
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Masters by Research, Honours
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