CTC Blood Test Appeal

We need your help to develop the next generation of blood tests.

Developing our CTC blood test is so crucial. Our determined researchers are vigorously working on a cheap, effective screening test that can be given directly to members of the public by their doctor so we can catch cancers earlier and possibly extend lives.

Your support will help us make this test available at your local GP within the next few years.

Early Detection Is The Key To Saving Lives.



An Australian Discovery


Photo: Thomas Ashworth, Melbourne 1869 (3rd from the left, looking at the camera).

The blood tests we are developing are based on a discovery made in 1869 – that cancer spreads through the body via the circulation system.

This discovery was made right here in Australia by pathologist Thomas Ashworth. He observed that cells identical to the cells in a patient’s tumour were present in the bloodstream, and postulated that this was the cause of the spread of tumours.

This process, known as metastases, is now well understood. The trouble is that, by the time the “circulating tumour cells” (or CTCs) are present in the bloodstream, a primary tumour may be well established and metastases may have already begun.

Sadly…as cancer metastasis survival rates drop.



What is needed is a more sensitive CTC test

With the benefit of modern cutting edge technology, teams of researchers at the Ingham Institute are working tirelessly on uncovering how we can best create blood tests that will alert doctors sooner of the presence of cancer cells circulating in the blood stream and inform doctors of the progress of current cancer treatment.

“The CTC cancer research that we lead here at the Ingham Institute is focused on pinpointing the CTCs in the blood early enough to stop the further growth and spread of cancer, which is the stage where the success of treatments are hindered and survival rates decrease dramatically.” explains Associate Professor Kevin Spring, group leader at the Institute.

“The CTC’s in the blood of a cancer patient can be like a “red canary” down the mine. Even after a solid tumour has been removed, the cells still found in the blood can indicate how the cancer is responding to treatment. If we can make tests to see how they are responding we can adjust our treatments to the most effective ones.” said A/Prof. Spring. “We call this a ‘liquid biopsy’ which can be done often, quickly, painlessly and cheaply but the challenge we face today is that CTC Blood Tests need to be developed and this is an expensive and time consuming exercise.”

How you can help

The Ingham Institute relies on public donations and fundraising for its cancer research. If you know a cancer sufferer or have lost someone to cancer, what better way to honour them than with a donation to one of Australia’s leading independent research facilities?



In March 2015, Peter Goodman sadly lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Peter’s wife, Chris, remembers the day they received the news of his diagnosis.

“The physical and emotional pain at that stage was almost unbearable,” recalls Chris.

Peter was physically fit, a non-smoker and healthy eater. The diagnosis completely blindsided the couple.

This is why developing our CTC test is so crucial. If we can perfect a cheap, effective screening test that can be given to members of the public, we can catch these cancers earlier in healthy people and possibly extend their lives.