Oxford 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’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.