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The 7th Annual CRUK Oxford Centre Symposium was held on 15th June 2018 in the Mathematical Institute, Oxford. The day consisted of a varied programme of presentations, ranging from cancer epidemiology to cancer immunotherapy and ended with an inspiring talk from a patient who has benefited from Oxford’s research via an early phase clinical trial. In addition to the talks, the breadth of cancer research at Oxford was showcased by > 60 posters.

Xin Lu introducing the CRUK Oxford Centre symposium 2018Oxford Centre co-director Prof. Xin Lu opened the day with a welcome address. The first session was themed on the Early Detection of Cancer and featured a talk from Ludwig Oxford’s Dr. Chunxiao Song. Chunxiao described the methodological advancements he is making in the genome-wide detection of the DNA modifications 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine for the purposes of early cancer detection. One of the advantages of his new technique is its sensitivity, which enables its use on the small amounts of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) that are shed into the blood by tissues from all over the body.

Chunxiao Song presenting at the CRUK Oxford Centre Annual Symposium 2018 with his title slide displaying the text "Using epigenetic signatures in cell-free DNA for cancer detection"Chunxiao’s idea is that the varying levels of these modifications can be used as a signature for where in the body the cfDNA originated. Because cancer results in increased cfDNA, by measuring both cfDNA levels and the signature of chemical modifications on the cfDNA, it is hoped that Chunxiao’s technique can be developed into a minimally invasive blood-based diagnostic assay for many different types of cancer.  

Ludwig Oxford researchers also participated in the poster sessions with Ludovico Buti (Lu lab), James Fielding (Bishop/Ratcliffe lab) and Jingyi Ma (Lu lab) presenting their research.

Ludovico Buti presenting his poster at the CRUK Oxford Centre Symposium Student presenting his poster at the CRUK Oxford Centre Symposium Jingyi Ma presenting her poster "Loss of factor inducing HIF (FIH) supports tumorigenesis" at the CRUK Oxford Centre Symposium