St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation

Dr Kevin Ni – 2020 SSMRF Grant Recipient


Dr Kevin Ni is a Scientific Officer in Cancer Care Centre at St George Hospital and Conjoint Lecturer in St George and Sutherland Clinical School, UNSW. Dr Ni studied medicine in China and completed his PhD at St George Hospital and UNSW in 2015. He is passionate about being involved in boosting Australia’s knowledge in prostate cancer research and in improving cancer patients’ survival. To date he has published over 30 papers on cancer early detection, biomarker discovery and mechanisms of radiation resistance.

When he’s not doing lab work or running in between hospitals, you can find Dr Ni sipping long blacks in between cafes while doing online shopping, as he believes (not so evidence-based) that caffeine addiction can be treated with retail therapy.

Research Project

A novel liquid biopsy assay of blood exosomal microRNA profiles to improve prostate cancer.

Amount funded: $46,000

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men in Australia. The current method to diagnose or exclude prostate cancer is the needle biopsy, which is costly, invasive and carry risks of complications. There is an unmet need for a less invasive and more cost-effective test to improve prostate cancer diagnosis.

Exosomes are tiny bubbles released by cells into the bloodstream which carry genetic information. Using cutting-edge gene tech and artificial intelligence, this is a world-first study to investigate blood exosome-based genetic profiles for prostate cancer diagnosis.

This project aims to develop a simple blood test which isolates these cell bubbles and analyses the genetic information within them. The test has the potential to diagnose cancer earlier, reduce unnecessary biopsies, allow treatment to be personalised, reduce clinic visits and save medical costs for prostate cancer patients from St George and Sutherland community.

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