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Medtech Impact on Wellness

“A tumor is certainly smarter than humans,” says researcher Jyotsna Batra, discussing the ability of some tumors to change behaviors and progress through mutations. But she and other researchers are doing their best to utilize genome-wide associated studies to understand the genetic basis of stages of carcinogenesis.

Listen and learn

  • How her lab has identified 150 risk variants associated with prostate cancer,
  • Why matching these variants with the aggressiveness and metastases of disease is an important step,
  • How they must take into account the role of heterogeneity in these stages of research, and
  • Why it’s vital when assessing carcinogenesis and oncogenesis to combine multiple diagnostic methods, like PSA tests alongside genetic tests, to better understand potential for disease progression.

Jyotsna Batra is an associate professor with the Faculty of Health and School of Biomedical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She works in genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology and is currently focusing on prostate cancer research. Her lab has recently joined a large prostate cancer consortium known as the Practical Consortium led by the Institute of Cancer Research in London. This teaming up offers the world a major cooperative workforce undertaking genome-wide association studies to understand the genetic basis of cancer.

She describes one of her major projects: a germ-line study involving chip technology that has allowed her to identify 150 risk variants associated with prostate cancer risk. As Richard asks about possible directions prostate cancer research could take, she illustrates the challenges and breakthroughs, from the role of heterogeneity as research progresses to what liquid biopsies can offer.Her work with biomarkers is directed at identifying aggressiveness as she looks at plasma and blood for secretory tumor cells and microRNAs. She is able to give a succinct reason for why prostate cancer might evade treatment, namely the possibilities of multiple origins for a tumor as well as developed resistance to drugs.

Finally she shares an important finding from her lab involving what diagnostic tests should be combined. Listen in for more about this exciting and life-saving work.

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