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Genomic translational oncology

Genomic Translational Oncology

Understanding the biology of tumours and potential treatments is crucial to future clinical oncology. But while a large amount of genome sequencing data is currently being accumulated across New Zealand by several projects researching a variety of cancers, there is little to no coordination of the tools and technologies being used. This makes it difficult to compare these studies and translate findings into clinical practice, and it imposes a technical bioinformatics load on researchers and clinicians that may be better handled centrally.

Creating and disseminating harmonised tools and technologies will help translate research findings, smoothing the way for the everyday use of genomics in clinical oncology. The aim of this project is to improve the use of genomic technologies in New Zealand and translate research into clinical practice. 

Translational genomic oncology is becoming established internationally, including Australia where many New Zealand groups have close research links. Several overseas clinicians and researchers in this field have agreed to assist with this project. The project team will work with them to analyse overseas findings while being mindful of the differences and opportunities, including close collaboration with Māori, that the New Zealand environment offers. From this, it will develop a cohesive set of protocols and methods to integrate translational genomics into oncological practice.

The project will leverage data already collected in National Science Challenge and Health Research Council funded projects. The project will involve clinical teams, including genetic counsellors, to ensure appropriate translation into clinical practice.


  • Development of protocols and pipelines to support clinical translational oncology
  • Increased capacity in clinical bioinformatics
  • Effective cooperation between Genomics Aotearoa partners and stakeholders
  • Development of cooperation between genomic oncology research across the country
  • Development of pipelines that are fit-for-purpose in New Zealand clinical situations


  • Professor Cris Print (University of Auckland) – lead researcher
  • Richard King (Canterbury Health Laboratories) – fellowship

  • Lindsey Harbour (Auckland DHB) – fellowship

  • Henry Chan (Waitemata DHB) – fellowship

  • Kim Gamet (Auckland DHB)

  • Jaclyn Ting Fowler (Auckland DHB)



PDX1 DNA methylation distinguishes two subtypes of pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms with a different prognosis
G Boons et al.
Cancers, 12(6), 1461, 2020,

Genomic and signalling pathway characterisation of the NZM panel of melanoma cell lines: A valuable model for studying the impact of genetic diversity in melanoma
K Tran et al.
Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, June 2020,

An estimate of limited duration cancer prevalence in New Zealand using ‘big’ data
N Brewer, J Atkinson, P Guilford, C Print, T Blakely, A Teng
New Zealand Medical Journal, 133(1514), May 2020

Accessing a new dimension in TP53 biology: Multiplex long amplicon digital PCR to specifically detect and quantitate individual TP53 transcripts
A Lasham, R Tsai, S Fitzgerald, S Mehta, N Knowlton, A Braithwaite, C Print
Cancers, 12(3), 769, 2020,

A predictor of early disease recurrence in breast cancer patients using a cell-free RNA and protein liquid biopsy
A Lasham et al.
Clinical Breast Cancer, 20(2), 2020,

Tailoring a rapid autopsy protocol to explore cancer evolution: A patient collaboration
C Blenkiron, T Robb, K Parker, N Kramer, S Stables, R Tse, L Modahl, E Coats, C Print, B Lawrence
New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1503), October 2019

Mapping a route to Indigenous engagement in cancer genomic research
K Henare, K Parker, H Wihongi, C Blenkiron, R Jansen, P Reid, M Findlay, B Lawrence, M Hudson, C Print
The Lancet Oncology, 20(6), 2019,

Recurrent loss of heterozygosity correlates with clinical outcome in pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer
B Lawrence et al.
NPJ Genomic Medicine, 3(18), 2018,