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Blood based biomarkers: Assessing melanoma through a blood test

The research

ECU’s melanoma research team has developed blood based biomarkers for early diagnosis, prognosis and personalisation of treatment in melanoma. Through the implementation of cutting-edge technologies and next generation sequencing the team scrutinise novel biomarkers such as Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs) and Circulating Tumour DNA (ctDNA). In addition, the program expands to the study of miRNA, exosomes and autoantibodies for improved specificity and sensitivity. The technologies are now being expanded to include prostate, breast and lung cancers.

Implementation of these novel blood based biomarker will revolutionise the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of melanoma patients, by allowing the implementation of more regular, informative tests at increased sensitivity, with significantly reduced costs, while reducing radiation exposure.

This research is funded by the NHMRC, Cancer Council of WA, MSD, Cancer Trust WA, DoH WA, and the ARC.


The program has engaged a team of clinicians at all major Oncology Centres at public and private hospitals both locally and nationally. Dermatologists and Skin Check WA, Level 1 Melanoma, and other skin cancer clinics are also engaged in the project. ECU’s research team is now working closely with PathWest and clinicians to translate these tests into key clinical applications with significant impact. The projects have been enhanced through partnerships with industry leaders such as Merck Sharp & Dohme, Sengenics and Bio-Rad.


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