Associate Professor Kevin Spring

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Medical Oncology, School Of Medicine, Western Sydney University

Kevin Spring is an Associate Professor of Medical Oncology at Western Sydney University, conjoint Associate Professor at UNSW and CONCERT Center Fellow and Group Leader at the Ingham Institute. He received a PhD from the University of Queensland and while at QIMR made substantial contributions toward defining the serrated neoplasia pathway in colorectal cancer, establishing BRAF mutation and methylation (CIMP) as key molecular features and that sessile serrated adenomas were precursors of MSI-H cancers. He also made significant contributions in the DNA damage field, with publications in Nature and Nature Genetics and was the first to generate an Atm missense knockin mutant mouse, demonstrating cancer predisposition in AT heterozygotes.

In 2013 he moved to Sydney and in addition to his research on colorectal cancer his more recent interests focus on the clinical utility of blood-based “liquid biopsies” involving circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and ctNAs. This research is centered on the development of predictive and prognostic biomarkers for patient stratification and real-time monitoring of treatment response to guide treatment. He is a foundation member of the Centre for CTC Diagnostics and Research (CCDR) at the Ingham Institute, and he established the Thomas Ashworth CTC & Liquid Biopsy Symposium in 2014.

Presentation Title: Exploring the potential of liquid biopsy for cancer therapy

Solid tumour biopsy is considered the gold standard for diagnostic review and provision of histopathologic information essential to inform cancer treatment. However, this is an invasive procedure that carries risks and limitations, such as infection, poor patient health and tumour accessibility. Liquid biopsy as a minimally invasive complement to solid tumour biopsy has great potential in developing a comprehensive molecular understanding of a patient’s cancer to guide therapeutic options for cancer therapy. Components of liquid biopsy include circulating tumour cells (CTCs), circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), exosomes, extracellular vesicles (EVs) and microRNA (miRNA), all of which contain highly informative genetic information that has diagnostic and clinical utility. In this presentation, different attributes of liquid biopsy will be discussed in the context of their clinical application as prognostic and predictive biomarkers to aid cancer therapy.