Port Lincoln-born doctor involved in lifesaving research

BATTLING BRAIN CANCER: Port Lincoln-born Dr Ashton Theakstone is involved in commercialising a new way to detect low grade brain cancer up to 0.2 cubic centimetres from a blood test. Photo: Supplied

BATTLING BRAIN CANCER: Port Lincoln-born Dr Ashton Theakstone is involved in commercialising a new way to detect low grade brain cancer up to 0.2 cubic centimetres from a blood test. Photo: Supplied

Port Lincoln-born Dr Ashton Theakstone is currently involved in commercialising groundbreaking research from the United Kingdom, using blood tests to detect "low grade" brain tumours as small as 0.2 cubic centimetres.

The infrared spectroscopic liquid biopsy technique involves a machine developed to screen and provide information on the composition of a patient's serum, the liquid portion obtained from blood that has coagulated.

The machine identifies any abnormalities specific to cancer by comparing the results to known healthy patients.

Now studying at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, Dr Theakstone hopes this technique can become globally recognised to help speed up a diagnosis and beginning treatment earlier.

"There has been previous research done on stratifying between cancer and non-cancer patients, however no test had explored the relationship with tumour size," Dr Theakstone said.

"It is exciting to be a part of this research which will hopefully become commercially available in primary and secondary care settings worldwide."

She said she was hopeful this become accessible to everybody.

"I am hopeful that this research can become a globally recognised technique which will aid in cutting time to diagnosis and beginning treatments earlier," Dr Theakstone said.

"Hopefully it will be accessible and available to all."

Dr Theakstone was born in Port Lincoln but grew up on the east coast, before returning in 2007 and finishing year 11 and 12 at St Joseph's school.

She finished PhD in 2019 when the opportunity came up for this research in the UK which she jumped on immediately but intends on coming back to visit Australia when COVID-19 restrictions ease.