Associate Professor, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

I am a medical oncologist with a special interest in colorectal cancer.

My research is aimed at understanding the features of colorectal cancer that predict how a patient will experience the disease, such as whether they will respond to therapy and whether they are at risk of recurrence following surgery.

I am also exploring whether a simple blood test could be used for the early detection of cancer, diagnosing tumours before they spread, when the chance of cure is high.

My research focuses on understanding the clinical utility of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), particularly in early stage disease.

ctDNA is shed by tumour cells into the blood and can be used as a type of ‘liquid biopsy’, revealing features of the tumour that may predict disease course or response to therapy. Our group recently found that ctDNA analysis detects minimal residual disease and predicts recurrence in patients with stage II colon cancer.

I am now performing prospective, randomised studies in stage II colon and stage III colon cancer, where patients are randomised to ctDNA informed treatment or to standard of care. For those in the ctDNA informed treatment group, we use ctDNA analysis to define recurrence risk and guide adjuvant therapy decision making.

I am also part of an international collaboration developing a blood test for the early detection of eight common cancers.

Experience

  • –present
    Associate Professor, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute