We are looking for a PhD student in the field of health technology assessment (HTA)/health economics and cost-effectiveness modelling to study different aspects related to successful implementation of cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) testing in the clinic. By measuring minute amounts of ctDNA in blood plasma via a method called “liquid biopsies”, it now is possible to follow the molecular composition of cancer cells over time. Observational studies have indicated that ctDNA can help to decide ‘who to treat’, ‘how to treat’ and ‘when to treat’. Due to its huge potential, multiple technological platforms to detect ctDNA mutations have been developed over the past year(s), but validation of clinical utility and analysis of cost effectiveness are largely lacking.
In the multidisciplinary COIN project (“ctDNA on the way to implementation in the Netherlands”), led by Prof GA Meijer and Dr. D. van den Broek (NKI/AVL), different aspects related to standardized clinical evaluation and implementation will be addressed. The PhD student will have an active role within the COIN consortium to bring together and harmonize the data from the different observational studies. To address HTA aspects, the PhD student will carry out both qualitative research, consisting of structured interviews with stakeholders and clinical experts, and quantitative research, consisting of a costing study of different ctDNA platforms, the construction of a health-economic modeling framework and carrying out health-economic evaluations in colorectal- and non-small-cell lung cancer, supervised by Veerle Coupé (Decision Modeling Center, Amsterdam UMC) and Valesca Retèl (NKI/AVL).