Weekly pick of Neuroscience news from around the world
Much of the news from the annual National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference, held in Glasgow this week, was about being able to diagnose cancer through blood tests – a liquid biopsy - and the role of AI in assisting with this. To get a full overview of what was new at conference have a look here however the piece most relevant to our community is the development of an AI blood test that can spot signs of brain tumour to speed up diagnosis.
Scientific updates from Sweden and Germany below
- Researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have identified 10 tumour-specific potential drug targets for the brain tumour glioblastoma. "We have found disease-related changes in the cells that line the tumour blood vessels, so called endothelial cells, which have long been considered a possible clinical target for cancer treatment," says Lynn Butler, assistant professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, who led the study, she continued, "these markers could provide insights into the biology of glioblastoma and represent potential tumour-specific targets for therapy.”
- An assay is an investigative procedure in laboratory medicine, pharmacology, and molecular biology for qualitatively assessing or quantitatively measuring the presence, amount, or functional activity of a target entity. Researchers at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf have developed a robust assay that could serve as a diagnostic tool for monitoring disease status, treatment response and tumour progression in patients with glioma.
Pharmaceutical updates from the US and Israel now;
- Inovio Demonstrates 80% 6-Month Progression-Free Survival In Phase 2 Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) Study – Inovio is a T cell-activating immunotherapy. A T cell is a type of lymphocyte which develops in the thymus gland and plays a central role in our immune response. It is thought that cancer is able to ‘switch off’ T cells and their ability to deploy this immune response. Immunotherapy is a treatment where T cells are genetically changed back so they will do their job again and attack cancer cells. As with other trials Inovio is being tested in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
- “We look forward to exploring the potential of neo-adjuvant treatment with VB-111 to turn immunologically ‘cold’ GBM tumours ‘hot’." A neo-adjuvant treatment is a treatment given as a first step to shrink a tumour before the main treatment, which is usually surgery, is given.
Immunologically cold tumours, are cancers that contain few infiltrating T cells and do not provoke a strong response by the immune system. Immunologically hot tumours contain high levels of infiltrating T cells and more antigens, making them more recognizable by the immune system and more likely to trigger a strong immune response. Cancers that are classically immunologically cold include glioblastomas.
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