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The applicability of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) as a diagnostic tool for early cancer detection

69 months
Approved budget:
Associate Professor Dianne Sika-Paotonu
Health issue:
Cancer (oncology)
Proposal type:
Sir Thomas Davis Te Patu Kite Rangi Ariki Health Research Fellowship
Lay summary
Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) refers to small fragments of tumour DNA found in the blood circulation, recognised by the presence of mutations in cancer genes. These DNA fragments can be isolated and quantified to obtain data about the cancer’s size and progression. Since gaining access to and obtaining biopsy samples from solid cancers in people is not always possible, the possibility of utilizing a simple blood sample to allow detection and monitoring of cancer growth is highly desirable. It is anticipated this simple method of detecting and monitoring cancer will enhance the precision of cancer diagnostics and surveillance and also lead to improved cancer health outcomes for Pacific Peoples. This work seeks to investigate the applicability of ctDNA technology for early cancer detection to support and improve the diagnostics, care and health outcomes of cancer patients in New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands