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: DNA is released primarily through apoptosis but also through the release of extracellular vesicles (EV). EVs are vesicles of around 50-150nm, composed of a lipid bilayer encapsulating various molecules like lipids, nucleic acids and proteins. They are heterogeneous and released by virtually all cells. Due to their role in cell to cell communication they could contain key information for cancer patients.
Recently, DNA in EVs was found to represent the whole genome and represent the parental cell. EVs have shown to contain more tumour DNA than cell free (cf)DNA in early disease, which could make them a good tool for early diagnosis and disease monitoring. By harbouring relevant mutations, EVs can help predict responsiveness to treatment and aid in cancer treatment.
As technology advances, liquid biopsies are becoming more common and standardised. In this project we will extract different fractions of DNA from plasma and compare the mutations detected between them.