BIG NEWS from us!!!
The Karen Louisa Foundation has committed $47K to support Dr. Parry Guilford & his team at the Centre of Translational Cancer research at Otago University in a seed project which researches circulating tumour DNA or ctDNA in the area of metastatic (advanced) breast cancer. There is strong evidence emerging internationally that ctDNA can be used as an early indicator of a patients response during and following cancer treatment and also if a patients cancer is recurring. Dr. Guilford videoed a short message and explanation of this in a little more detail for the launch party – if you have 3 minutes today check it out here . We can’t support these types of projects without your support so thank you from the bottom of our heart.
What is ctDNA?
Circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is DNA which has been spilt from cancer into the blood. There is strong evidence emerging internationally that the levels of ctDNA can be used as an early indicator of patient recurrence/response during and following cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation. Traditional scanning techniques such as CT/PET scans are very useful, however changes in tumour sizes often need to be large to be identified. As a result patients often end up taking drugs which are providing little benefit and commonly, causing side effects which can considerable impact the quality of their life. For some, by the time either recurrence or growth is discovered, their cancer burden is too great and it is too late to try an alternative drug or their drug options are now limited.
Research shows that ctDNA could provide this sought-after earlier detection method. As it only takes a quick blood test it can be done as often as desired, leading to more intense patient monitoring and faster clinical response times. This allows the patient to quickly stop futile treatment and change their treatment plan, potentially giving them a longer life, all with a lower cost to the health care system.
There are many more extremely exciting things that ctDNA could be capable of such as potentially profiling a patient’s tumour, potentially allowing doctors to predict which drug would work better over others. But the first step in New Zealand is to develop the ctDNA technology & protocol for actual application on advanced breast cancer and test the methodology on breast cancer patients. Ultimately so that it this is standard clinical practice in New Zealand.
Pretty amazing huh?!