Circulating Tumour Cell (CTC) Diagnostics and Research

Date of publication: 
April 23, 2015


The Centre for Circulating Tumour Cell Diagnostics and Research (CCDR), is located at the Ingham Institute and houses the NSW first-in state high tech CTC isolation platform (IsoFLux). Since its establishment in May 2013, specialist circulating tumour cell (CTC) expertise and research infrastructure at the CCDR have expanded exponentially and the centre can now boast a national profile in isolation and analysis of CTCs on various solid cancers.


The isolation and analysis of CTCs is emerging as an extremely attractive way to support cancer patient management and CTC numbers are prognostic and analyzing CTC numbers can monitor response to therapy or may be used as a method of “quality control” during surgical procedures by identifying CTC release into the blood stream. Most importantly, CTCs represent a relatively non-invasive, economic sample of a patient’s cancer that can be interrogated for important biomarkers that will guide personalized therapy.

CCDR research streams develop assays that use simple blood samples to identify detailed biomarker information of solid tumours with the goal to guide patient management. We are analysing CTCs, circulating tumour (ct)DNA and ctRNA to obtain such information. For example we can perform targeted mutation screening and gene expression analysis on a handful of CTCs or ctDNA isolated from 10ml of only blood. Importantly, since blood draws are non-invasive these tests can be performed repeatedly throughout a patient’s cancer journey guiding changes in therapy faster than current imaging technologies are able to do.

The CCDR has currently projects into various cancers including melanoma, breast-, colorectal-, prostate- ,ovarian-, brain-, gastric-, biliary and head and neck cancer. CTC research is a rapidly developing, “hot” research field worldwide and the CCDR offers postgraduate PhD projects for promising young researchers with relevant undergraduate qualification. For information about possible PhD research opportunities, please contact A/Prof Therese Becker.


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