Christine Semira – ESR 4
Main Host Institution: Champalimaud Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal
Host Lab: Costa-Silva Lab (Systems Oncology)
Project Title: Diagnostic utility of circulating exosomes for non-invasive diagnosis and monitoring of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients
Project Background: Although targeted therapy and immunotherapy have improved outcomes for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), there is still a need for reliable, convenient and cost-effective ways to identify driver mutations and monitor treatment response. Liquid biopsies have the potential to fill this need, although there are challenges to improve the sensitivity and specificity of currently available tests. Exosomes – small membrane-bound vesicles that facilitate cell-to-cell and cell-to-microenvironment interactions – are promising candidates for non-invasive detection and monitoring of NSCLC. We aim to identify exosomal DNA in blood samples of diagnosed NSCLC patients and healthy controls that can be used as accurate diagnostic, predictive or prognostic biomarkers. We will validate these with clinical outcomes such as response rate and progression-free survival (PFS).