Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS)
in Precision Medicine

Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS)
in Precision Medicine

Liquid Biopsy

Call for Applications Now Closed

Course Overview

Biomarkers evaluation on tissue and Liquid Biopsy represents the key weapon to fully exploit the powerful of Precision Oncology. In particular, body fluids represent a renewable and dynamic source of biomolecules. The term “liquid biopsy” (LB) is often used to describe the collection and analysis of circulating biomolecules that portray the molecular landscape of solid cancers. Therefore, LBs can be used for detection, identification or classification of tumors and also to match it to a specific therapy. However, the full implementation of LBs in the clinic has not reached a widespread deployment. To move forward, the International Liquid Biopsy Society is committed to erase these barriers through a comprehensive educational program aiming to prepare a new generation of experts (technicians, pathologists, oncologists, biologists, biotechnologists and bioinformaticians) in the field of LB that can fast-track its use in the clinical practice.

The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Precision Medicine will cover different aspects required for the acquisition of the most advanced and up-to date knowledge and skills in the field of LB. For this purpose, the CAS is structured in 6 modules: (I) Precision Oncology, (II) Predictive Molecular Pathology in Solid Tumors: from tissue to liquid biopsy, (III) Bioinformatic, and (IV) Clinical applications, (V) Meet the Vendors and (VI) Clinical Cases.

Please note a limited number of places is available. Out of the successful applicants, a group of 20 participants will be selected by the Executive Committee for a direct mentoring program; also staged in laboratories within ISLB network.

ISLB is an equal opportunity non-profit organization, committed to accept in this course a diverse educational team. All openings for the course will be filled based on qualifications without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability, age, religion or any other classification protected by law.

Application and Course Timeline*

Application Deadline 4 May 2023
Module 1 – Precision Oncology July 2023 - end of August 2023
Module 1 – Live Q&A September 13, 2023
Module 2 - Predictive Molecular Pathology in Solid Tumors Mid-October 2023
Module 3 - Bioinformatic Feb 2024
Module 4 - Clinical Applications To be confirmed
Module 5 – Meet the Vendors - Bonus Content To be confirmed
Module 6 – Clinical Cases - Bonus Content To be confirmed
Live Thesis and/or Workshop After Module 6

*Please note the timeline is subject to changes.

Course Structure

  • 6 learning modules held online (including bonus content) – each module will be available to watch on-demand for 30 days.
  • Each module will contain a live Q&A session.
  • Each module will contain quizzes and other interactive tools to test the Participant’s understanding of the topic in question.
  • Competencies acquired will be evaluated with a dedicated workshop and/or thesis focused on LB study case.

Course Program

Module 1: Precision Oncology

  • Precision Medicine: Overview of Current Role of Precision Oncology
  • Precision Oncology: targeting molecular alterations in cancer
  • Biomarkers in Oncology
  • Liquid Biopsy: Basic concepts
  • Tissue biopsy vs Liquid biopsy
  • Tumour heterogeneity, plasticity and evolution
  • The Importance of Precision Oncology in clinical research and practice: From the patient voice to Pharma
  • Tumour Type – Agnostic Oncogene Targets: NTRK Clinical Case

Learning objectives

  • To understand the Precision Oncology concept, the new paradigm in the treatment of cancer patients.
  • To distinguish different types of biomarkers.
  • To differentiate advantages and disadvantages of tumor and liquid biopsies.
  • To understand the concept of liquid biopsy in oncology.
  • To learn how the assessment of tumor heterogeneity and evolution based on liquid biopsy assays can improve cancer treatment.

Module 2: Predictive Molecular Pathology in Solid Tumors: from Tissue to Liquid Biopsy

  • Biomarkers Evaluation in Solid Tumors on Tissue Samples
  • Liquid Biopsy: Blood and Other Biological Fluids
  • cfDNA and cfRNA
  • Other Liquid Biopsy Analytes: CTC, Extravescicles and Platelets
  • Blood Samples: Preanalytical and Analytical Phases
  • Single Gene Vs Comprehensive Approaches for LB Analysis
  • Virtual Lab (3D Tour in A Liquid Biopsy Lab)
  • Liquid Biopsy Reports
  • Quality Programs and Accreditations

Learning objectives

  • To recognize the key point in the pre-analytical and analytical management of tissue samples for molecular testing.
  • To recognize the key point in the pre-analytical and analytical management of blood samples for molecular testing.
  • To understand to the advantages and limitations of the principal molecular biology workflow for the analysis of Liquid Biopsy samples.
  • To recognize the major technological advances for the analysis of blood-based biomarkers.
  • To get insights about laboratory quality control programs and accreditations.
  • To analyze the information that should be part of the liquid biopsy report.

Module 3: Bioinformatic

  • Data Storage and Processing
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Variant Calling
  • Basics of Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Mathematical Modelling

Learning objectives

  • To develop communication skills to enable discussion with bioinformaticians.

Module 4: Clinical Applications

  • Liquid Biopsy in The Clinical Practice: The Example of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Liquid Biopsy in Other Tumors
  • Cancer Screening and Early Detection
  • Treatment Monitoring and Detection of Resistances
  • Molecular Tumor Board (MTB)
  • How To Implement a Liquid Biopsy Services
  • Liquid Biopsy in Clinical Trials: Integration and Design

Learning objectives

  • To learn about the main clinical applications of the LB in the oncological practice.
  • To analyze the role of the LB in early cancer detection and screening programs.
  • To analyze and discuss the type of information that LB samples can provide during treatment monitoring or acquisition of resistant mechanisms.
  • To know the functions, requirements, procedures, and organization of the MTBs and their role in the clinical decision making.

Module 5: Meet the Vendors

  • From The Design to the Production of an Assay to Assess a Predictive Biomarker
  • Molecular Biology Platform and Assays
  • Software
  • NGS Based Assay for Tissue and Liquid Biopsy Analysis
  • How To Build a Companion Diagnostic Test
  • Assay Accreditation: CLIA, ISO
  • Liquid Biopsy in Clinical Trials: Integration and Design

Learning objectives

  • To learn about the production process of an assay to assess predictive biomarkers.
  • To know the functions, minimal requirements, procedures, and organization of a company developing molecular biology approach for biomarkers evaluation in Precision Medicine.

Module 6: Clinical Cases
A series of 5 exemplificative clinical case studies showing the role of Precision Medicine in different settings. Each case will be developed taking into account the elements presented during the CAS.

Learning objectives

  • How to apply the knowledge in clinical practice.

Thesis and/or Workshop
The workshop will be mandatory for each Participant. To obtain the full degree the participant will be requested to conform a short thesis.

Cost
There will be a fee associated with the Course.
Grants will be available to offset the cost of the Course for majority of the participants.
Please note: Grants will be allocated according to the order of applications and will take into the account the motivational letter, which should be submitted along all other mandatory documents.

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