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Using genetic and molecular technologies to better understand follicular lymphoma

Dr Karthik Nath
Dr Karthik Nath, The Mater Research Institute (Brisbane)
Funding period: 2019-2022

Dr Nath in undertaking his PhD in the laboratory of Professor Maher Gandhi at the Mater Research Institute in Brisbane. Dr Nath’s research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the genetics and biology of Follicular Lymphoma (the second most common Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma)..

Dr Nath aims to use state of the art genetic and molecular techniques to develop a prognostic score for people diagnosed with follicular lymphoma. This follicular lymphoma specific prognostic score would represent a practical means of improving diagnostic techniques and treatment approaches with real-world applicability.

Precision medicine-based therapies are revolutionising the way that blood cancers are being treated, however there are no robust mechanisms to prioritise when and where these treatments should be used. The patient-specific immunological, molecular and genetic markers used to generate the prognostic score will help clinicians identify ‘high-risk’ individuals who may not respond well to standard treatments. These ‘high-risk’ individuals could then be transitioned to more aggressive or targeted precision medicine-based therapies to improve their treatment outcomes.

Utilising these highly specific markers may also help the greater research community understand disease processes and be incrementally beneficial to public health medicine. Dr Nath is hopeful individualising treatment will not only improve patient outcomes but also provide patients with information and understanding about their blood cancer to empower them to more actively involved in treatment decisions which has been shown to be very important in the psychosocial aspects involved in cancer care.

PhD scholarships are co-funded by the Leukaemia Foundation and the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand (HSANZ).