Biomarkers are essential to our vision of personalised medicine, allowing us to diagnose cancer sub-types, to select appropriate treatments and to predict and monitor response and resistance.
The Manchester Centre for Cancer Biomarker Sciences is a world-leading centre of excellence with acknowledged expertise in liquid biopsy approaches, including analysis of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) through laboratories run to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) standards. Our patient-derived models - both PDX and CDX (CTC-derived explant) - are used for target validation and prediction of therapeutic response.
The Centre’s work supports an extensive range of clinical and translational studies, aiming to inform on prognosis, provide optimal patient stratification and indicate response to treatment and onset of resistance. This involves a number of specialist teams focussed on particular areas: preclinical pharmacology, cell and protein based biomarkers, nucleic acid biomarkers and tissue biomarkers, as well as informatics and statistics.
Collaborations and partnerships are a vital component of MCCBS success. We interact with many Cancer Research UK centres, particularly those without the resources to deliver biomarker-driven clinical trials. Our mission is to become a national hub for biomarker sciences. Internationally, we have joined the EU IMI CANCER-ID consortium on liquid biopsies and have partnered with NCI through the Obama Moonshot programme to help establish the High Definition Single Cell Analysis (HD-SCA) platform developed by Professor Peter Kuhn at the University of Southern California.
Over the next five years, we will work in new disease areas, and expand the diversity and complexity of our models. By establishing a Tumour Immune and Inflammation Monitoring Laboratory (TIIML) we will begin to support immunotherapy pre-clinical and clinical research.
We will ensure that all patients entering phase I trials undergo ctDNA analysis, and look to exploit the power of continuous ctDNA analysis in experimental studies. By working with bioengineers and nanotechnologists within Manchester’s Graphene Institute, we are looking to adopt innovative approaches to improve the sensitivity of ctDNA analysis.
In addition, liquid biopsy approaches will increasingly be used for earlier diagnosis of cancer and the detection of residual disease, particularly in lung cancer.