Heitzer Group

Medical University of Graz

Research focus Liquid Biopsy

Who we are

Our research group focuses on liquid biopsies, which hold great promise for precision and personalized medicine. In particular, circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) has been demonstrated to be a valuable tool to detect cancer recurrence, to predict tumor burden and treatment response, as well as to identify resistance mechanisms and the emergence of novel actionable targets has been proven in numerous studies summarized monitor recurrence, resistance, metastasis and minimal residual disease. The aim of our research is to use state-of-the-art technologies to make accurate diagnoses, to monitor disease progression and to use sophisticated bioinformatics pipelines to derive prognoses and treatment options from genetic data sets. We have established a plethora of approaches to study genome-wide alterations and high-sensitivity methods to detect specific mutations occurring at lower allele frequencies. Moreover, to bring a broad range of ctDNA approaches into the clinic, we aim to improve our understanding of the biology and dynamics underlying ctDNA release. We work closely with experienced clinical partners for various types of solid tumours in the departments of gynaecology, haematology, oncology or urology at our university. In addition, we have broad collaborations with national and international partners, many of whom are leading liquid biopsy groups. We also work closely with industry.

Why/How are we going Green

As with most other people our main intention for going green is to fight climate change, reduce air pollution and curtail the harm we inflict on the planet and its many species. Since science faces a dramatic sustainability problem by using up to 10x more energy and producing a massive amount of plastic waste every year, we want to reduce at least our footprints by minimizing the use of energy, water, and materials while improving efficiency. Moreover, we intent to implement an efficient lab equipment and waste-management.

Research focus Liquid Biopsy