Analysis of circulating microRNAs in patient serum as a non-invasive biomarker platform

Project Details

MicroRNAs (miRs) are short evolutionary conserved non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. They are expressed in all tissue types and are found in all body fluids including serum. It has been demonstrated that expression levels of certain miRs are altered in the setting of cancer e.g. chronic lymphocytic leukemia, ovarian cancer, diffuse large B cell lymphoma.  These alterations are detectable not just in the cancerous tissue, but also in the patient’s serum. This offers a non-invasive method of obtaining relevant samples for molecular analysis and disease monitoring.

We have developed a methodology for screening miRs present in serum/plasma using Nanostring technology. This method is now being applied to the analysis of samples collected from patients with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, Myelofibrosis, Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Myelodysplasia and  Glioma/Glioblastoma.


  • Dr Rachel Koldej, Senior Scientist
  • Dr Lynette Chee, Consultant Haematologist and VCA Fellow
  • Mrs Mandy Ludford-Menting, Research Assistant
  • Mr Matthew Lansdown, Research Technician


  • Dr Melita Kenealy, Cabrini Health
  • Dr Michael Dickinson, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
  • Dr Stan Styill, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Andrew Morokoff, Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Daniel Park, Melbourne Bioinformatics Platform, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Matthew Wakefield, Melbourne Bioinformatics Platform, University of Melbourne


  • Fight Cancer Foundation
  • Victorian Cancer Agency
  • Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation
  • Cure Brain Cancer Foundation

Research Publications

  1. Styill SS, Adamides AA, Koldej R, Luwor RB, Ritchie D, Ziogas J and Kaye A. miRNA expression profiling of cerebrospinal fluid from patients with cerebral aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage – a pilot study. J NeuroSurg. 2016 Apr 29:1-9.
  2. Areeb Z, Stylli SS, Koldej R, Ritchie D, Siegal T, Morokoff AP, Kaye AH, Luwor RB. MicroRNA as potential biomarkers in Glioblastoma. J Neurooncol. 2015 Nov;125(2):237-48.

Research Group

ACRF Translational Research Laboratory

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Medicine and Radiology

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