Recent technological advances have enabled the development of methods to identify cancer DNA in blood samples.
Detection of cancer DNA in the blood is a clear indicator that cancer cells exist somewhere in the body. Testing for circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is thus a promising strategy for the identification and detection of cancer as well as for monitoring treatment effects. Several studies suggest that by measuring circulating tumour DNA it is possible to detect recurrence of cancer as much as 16 months earlier than currently possible. Danish research groups affiliated to the national research centre have already established circulating tumour DNA-guided clinical intervention studies as some of the first worldwide.
The objectives of the new national research centre are to:
- Create an optimal platform for collaboration in which all relevant actors are gathered to advance research in circulating cancer DNA at the highest international level
- Set an effective frame for optimal introduction of evidence based use of circulating tumour DNA-guided treatment and follow up strategies in Denmark
- Improve diagnosing, treatment and follow up and thereby improve survival and quality of life for Danish cancer patients
Prior to implementation of the research results in clinical practice multidisciplinary and nationally organised clinical studies are needed to document the advantages of the methods in form of better survival and quality of life for the patients. Clinical trials will examine the use of circulating tumour DNA analysis for:
- Early detection of cancer in patients without symptoms
- Identifying patients with remaining disease with the aim of guiding the decision of adjuvant chemotherapy and/or the frequency of prospective image diagnostic follow up
- Monitoring of treatment effects
The aim is to offer nationwide participation for all cancer patients in relevant clinical trials.
The centre is managed by Professor Claus Lindbjerg Andersen and Professor Lars Dyrskjøt Andersen from Aarhus University and Department of Molecular Medicine (MOMA) at Aarhus University Hospital.
Read more about the research centre at ctDNA.dk