Tumor-derived exosomes in ovarian cancer - liquid biopsies for early detection and real-time monitoring of cancer progression

Presented by Dr Carlos Salomon

Ovarian cancer is a significant health issue with a lasting impact on the whole community. It is the sixth most commonly reported cancer and the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women, accounting for 5% of all cancer mortality in developed countries. While some progress has been made, there has been little improvement in survival rates over the last 20 years. Tumour development and progression is dependent upon cell-to-cell communication, allowing cancer cells to not only re-program cells within the surrounding tumour microenvironment, but also cells located at distant sites. Recent studies established that extracellular vesicles (and, in particular, exosomes) mediate bi-directional communication between normal and cancerous cells. In this seminar, I will discuss recent discoveries from my research group about the role of cancer- derived exosomes in ovarian cancer progression and the potential clinical applications of these findings.

Dr. Carlos Salomon PhD, DMedSc, MPhill: has a total of 103 publications, >4000 citations, with an H index = 31, cited in 81 countries and 24 fields, 36% of the publications are in the top 10% by citations (Scopus Nov 2019, FWCI = Field weighted citation index), and obtained funding >$6 million as CI. He obtained an undergraduate degree, Bachelor in Biochemistry with Honours in Immunology in 2005 (University of Concepcion, Chile), MPhill in Clinical Biochemistry and Immunology in 2008, and a PhD in Medical Science in 2013. He established, and now leads an independent research group (Exosome Biology Laboratory), exploring the role of exosomes under normal and pathological conditions.

Mycoplasma genitalium infections can comprise a mixture of both quinolone-susceptible and quinolone-resistant strains

Presented by Dr Emma Sweeney 

Mycoplasma genitalium is a sexually-transmitted bacterium that was recently added to the CDC’s antimicrobial resistant threats “watch list” due to the fact that it has rapidly become resistant to mainstay treatments. In Australia, treatment failure with quinolone antibiotics remain commonplace, even where “gold standard” tests fail to identify evidence of resistance mutations. Suspecting that these methods may miss low-load mixed infections, we developed a suite of molecular assays to detect quinolone susceptibility and resistance in M. genitalium. Our results showed evidence of mixtures of quinolone susceptible and resistant strains in up to 6.1% M. genitalium samples. The finding of mixed susceptibility infections has important implications for clinical patient management and stresses the need for appropriate detection of resistance to ensure appropriate treatment of these infections.

Dr Emma Sweeney is a postdoctoral research fellow at UQCCR. She received her PhD in 2015, where she characterised the pathogenesis of the human Ureaplasma species in adverse pregnancy outcomes. Emma’s current research interests include sexually-transmitted pathogens, pathogens that impact pregnancy and/or infant health, as well as the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance in STIs.

About UQCCR Seminar Series

UQCCR Seminar Series

The UQ Centre of Clinical Research (UQCCR) Seminars are held fortnightly on Wednesdays from 12 pm - 1 pm (except during school holidays) currently on Zoom. The series features topics in multiple research fields, presented by invited international, interstate and local researchers.