My laboratory focuses on understanding the dynamic molecular changes that occur during cancer progression and metastasis, with a focus on using liquid biopsy. Our ability to study tumor biology and uncover new approaches to prevent and treat cancer is limited because it relies on tissue from a biopsy, which carries several issues: inadequate sampling, rare but serious complications, and, importantly, provides one static picture of the tumor – thereby neglecting the dynamics of tumor evolution and spatiotemporal heterogeneity. To overcome these issues, my lab tracks tumor evolution through a liquid biopsy, a minimally invasive approach to monitor disease progression, recurrence and treatment response using a blood sample. Detection of circulating tumor cells, circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and extracellular vesicles can contribute to personalized management, and inform on the changing ‘omic status of the disease, thereby guiding therapy. Specifically we track disease development, treatment response/resistance and metastasis through detection of known and putative tumor-initiating and metastasis-promoting mutations and epigenetic changes in circulating tumor DNA. This allows us to understand the genomic and epigenomic landscape over time and how it correlates with disease course.

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