Portrait of Dr David Liu in a graphic.

Dr David Liu wins 2023 Innovation Grant for OMEGCA


The 2023 Innovation Grant was awarded to Dr David Liu of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for his research concept titled, “Multi-Omics Evaluation of Peritoneal Fluid in Gastroesophageal Cancer (OMEGCA): A prospective trial to develop a sensitive assay to detect clinically occult peritoneal metastases”.

Currently, peritoneal metastases of gastro–oesophageal cancer is considered incurable. Dr Liu’s concept could lead to a method of early detection of peritoneal disease, especially micro-metastases, which could lead to changes in the intent and approach to treatment.

“OMEGCA seeks to develop and validate an accurate molecular test to detect microscopic spread of stomach cancer in the abdominal cavity,” said Dr Liu.

“We hope that our findings will inform patient counselling, treatment decision-making and design of future therapeutic clinical trials.”

Dr Liu and his team were already able to establish the use of peritoneal fluid to detect peritoneal tumour DNA. The project aims to develop an urgently needed molecular assay to enable accurate cancer staging of the peritoneal cavity in patients with gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma.

The Innovation Grant is directly supported by funds from the GI Cancer Institute’s Gutsy Challenge. As the 2023 recipient of the Innovation Grant, Dr Liu is thankful for the encouragement of the community.

“We are tremendously grateful to receive the support of the GI cancer community. In fact, OMEGCA was conceived following feedback from gastric cancer survivors,” said Dr Liu.

“It is amazing to see that our study community advisors are themselves supported by the GI cancer community, and and we are honoured to be recognised by the AGITG as well. This injected funding will be critical to enable our study to complete recruitment. Thank you.”

The award was received on the night by Dr Nick Clemons on behalf of Dr Liu.

Dr Nick Clemons receives the Innovation Grant certificate from Prof Lorraine Chantrill.