Brain cancer treatment in Spain: liquid biopsy for glioma
- 01 February
- Diagnosis & Treatment
A liquid biopsy developed by Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Spain, allows diagnosing and choosing the most appropriate treatment for each type of glioma.
Glioma is one of the most common types of brain cancer.
Until now, in order to diagnose glioma and choose the most appropriate treatment, it was necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
This procedure involves serious risks for the patient, which may face cognitive consequences, impaired speech, vision, movement, and other functions.
Gliomas are very diverse, and they represent a serious problem of oncology. There are tumors that disappear without treatment, and there are tumors that kill a patient within a few months.
Sometimes doctors begin aggressive treatment, although the tumor is benign. And that means that cognitive problems or secondary tumors can appear in little patients due to radiotherapy. The VHIO researchers have decided to include pediatric tumors in their study. Last year, they developed a test that will improve the efficacy and safety of brain cancer treatment in Spain.
Moreover, a new diagnostic test identifies specific mutations that worsen the prognosis.
This is a completely new approach to treatment planning.
How is a liquid biopsy performed?The researchers perform a lumbar puncture and analyze the DNA of the tumor in the cerebrospinal fluid. It is important to offer the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
In other types of cancer, such as lung cancer, a similar method is also used, although the tumor genetic material is taken from the patient's blood.
In 2018, Dr. Seoane, who is Director of the Translational Research Program of the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, demonstrated the possibility of using a similar technique with cerebrospinal fluid for the diagnosis of brain tumors. Identifying the type of glioma is a key, since each subgroup has a very different survival, ranging from 1 to 15 years.
The prognosis determines the treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy).
In other tumors, such as breast cancer, it is enough to take a sample of the tissue for the prognosis and the choice of treatment. In the brain, however, it is much more complicated. Depending on the location of the tumor, biopsy can cause irreversible effects. Scientists have developed a platform that has allowed analyzing the genotype of 7 glioma genes. Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in each subgroup of glioma opens the door to prescribing drugs against specific targets.
This is an important step towards so-called personalized medicine.
The platform is also used to monitor the evolution of the tumor during treatment. Now it is enough to repeat the lumbar puncture to adjust therapy. According to Dr. Joan Seoane, liquid biopsy is the best way to distinguish aggressive glioblastomas that need immediate treatment from less dangerous tumors. Until recently, liquid biopsy was not available anywhere in the world.
About the Vall d'Hebron Institute of OncologyVHIO is the leading center for cancer treatment and research in Barcelona (Catalonia).
Opened in 2006, this successful scientific and clinical center focuses on the best organizational models of European and American oncology. Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology brings together physicians and researchers who are involved in fundamental projects and clinical studies on new cancer treatment methods.
Currently, the following studies are conducted here:
• Identification of tumor gene expression
• The role of growth factors in the development of cancer
• Identification of new tumor biomarkers
• Applied genetics in oncology
• Cancer immunotherapy
• Radiation oncology etc.
VHIO is one of the best places where you can get a second opinion of leading experts and receive treatment for all cancer types. The centers offers an impressive list of experimental techniques and clinical trials in different areas of oncology.
If you have exhausted all standard methods and are looking for a fundamentally new conservative brain cancer treatment in Spain, this is the right choice.