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Thursday 10 March 2016 8:54am

CTCR's advanced breast cancer research has attracted funding from the Karen Louisa Foundation.

The Foundation is a registered charitable trust which honours the life and aspirations of the late Karen Louisa Hunter (nee Scott) who passed away from breast cancer in April 2015.

A presentation by Professor Parry Guilford on the potential of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) had particular significance for the Foundation, who support women with advanced breast cancer.

Trustee Lisa Scott said "The Karen Louisa Foundation is delighted to be a partner to support Professor Parry Guilford and his team in a seed project which researches the potential of circulating tumour DNA in treating advanced breast cancer".

Professor Parry Guilford and his team are very grateful for the Karen Louisa Foundation's support to assist the advancement of this vital work.

What ctDNA offers

Circulating tumour DNA is detectable in the blood via cells that are shed from tumours. These cells hold all the genetic information about the part of the tumour it came from and can be a valuable tool for tracking tumour development and responsiveness to treatment.

It only takes a quick blood test to capture ctDNA, and testing can be done as often as desired. This enables more intense patient monitoring and faster clinical responses to any changes detected. Patients can have any ineffective treatment stopped and quickly have their treatment plan adapted. This potentially gives them a longer life, with a lower cost to the health care system.

First steps for New Zealand

There are many more extremely exciting things that ctDNA could be capable of such as potentially profiling a patient's tumour and allowing doctors to predict which drug would work better over others.

The critical first step in New Zealand is to develop the ctDNA technology and protocol for actual application on a variety of cancers and to test the methodology on cancer patients. Ultimately we hope this will become standard clinical practice in New Zealand.

Karen Louisa tn
Karen Louisa Hunter (nee Scott)

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