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CtDNA-Based Liquid Biopsy in Cancers

Subjects: Genetics View times: 99
Submitted by: Camila Xu


In line with the interests of the Special Issue (SI) “Current Status and Future Perspectives of ctDNA-Based Liquid Biopsy in Cancers”, the present webinars will focus on circulating free tumor DNA (ctDNA), a form of blood-based liquid biopsy, which has recently emerged as a novel, non-invasive biomarker that may better represent the genetic heterogeneity of cancers.

The series of talks will show recent advancements in next-generation sequencing and droplet digital PCR technologies that allow sensitive and specific detection of very-low-frequency alleles in the circulation of patients affected by different cancer types.

Invited speakers will also highlight the most recent clinical applications of ctDNA in cancer patient management, covering both technological and clinical aspects that will improve our understanding of its potentiality, including but not limited to early diagnosis, detection of minimal residual disease after surgery, and monitoring tumor evolution during different drug schedules.

1. Introduction

On Wednesday, 14th October, MDPI and Cancers organized the first webinar on Cancers, entitled: "Current Status and Future Perspectives of ctDNA-Based Liquid Biopsy in Cancers". The introduction and the first presentation were held by Dr. Giulia Siravegna.  Her presentation was entitled: "ctDNA to Understand Clonal Evolution and Heterogeneity in Colorectal Cancer Patients". Prof. Dr. Evi Lianidou held the second presentation, which was entitled: “Development and Validation of Highly Sensitive Molecular Assays for Mutations and DNA Methylation Markers: Applications in Liquid Biopsy.”The last speaker was Dr. Maider Ibarrola-Villava. She held a presentation with the title "Current Status of Liquid Biopsy in Pancreatic Cancer".

2. The details of experts

Dr. Giulia Siravegna joined the laboratory of Molecular Oncology at the Candiolo Cancer Institute (Italy) after completing a Master’s Degree, with honors, in Biotechnology at the University of Torino. After obtaining her Master’s Degree, she enrolled in a competitive PhD program in Molecular Medicine. Her studies have shed new light on how drug pressure shapes clonal heterogeneity in colorectal tumors, also putting forward new therapeutic opportunities to counteract drug resistance. Over the years, Dr. Siravegna has designed, applied, and perfected methods to quantitatively and analytically detect low-frequency genetic alterations in plasma, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid from cancer patients. Through these investigations, she has pioneered the notion that the colorectal cancer genome adapts dynamically to intermittent drug schedules and has provided important and original information on the value of combined tissue- and liquid-biopsy approaches to longitudinally trace divergent responses of individual lesions to targeted therapies. Dr. Siravegna is currently an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Research Scientist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA, USA.

Dr. Evi Lianidou is Professor of Analytical Chemistry and Clinical Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry, University of Athens, Greece. In 1998, Dr. Lianidou established a molecular diagnostics laboratory focused on liquid biopsy at the Department of Chemistry ( Her lab specializes in the analysis of circulating tumor cells (ACTC) and has access to many patient samples through extensive clinical collaborations. Her main research interests are in the development and clinical evaluation of (a) single-plex and multiplex quantitative RT-qPCR assays for the detection and molecular characterization of CTCs, (b) multiplex assays for gene expression in CTCs based on the liquid bead array (LUMINEX platform), (c) DNA methylation assays in CTCs and ctDNA, (d) highly sensitive assays for mutation analysis in CTCs and in ctDNA, and (e) evaluation of circulating miRNAs as tumor biomarkers in plasma.

Dr. Maider Ibarrola-Villava is a postdoctoral researcher at the Medical Oncology Unit of the Biomedical Research Institute (INCLIVA), University of Valencia, Spain. Her group aims at the implementation of personalized therapies and, therefore, she has focused on the molecular characterization of different solid tumors, especially through liquid biopsies and organoid-based pre-clinical models. She gained expertise in liquid biopsy in a postdoctoral stay at Prof. A. Bardelli’s lab. She currently leads a project on liquid biopsy in pancreatic cancer.

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