Blood tests to help treat meningiomas are being developed at our Centre of Excellence
In reaction to the recent news about blood test biopsy we would like to talk about the work that is taking place at our Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth.
The Centre lead, Professor Oliver Hanemann is developing a test on tissue or blood that can be used instead of a surgical biopsy to identify markers that predict how meningiomas are likely to behave. The immediate benefit for some patients is avoiding invasive surgery. For other patients, a biopsy may be impossible due to the position of the tumour and the risks that this surgical procedure would bring, so this test will be able to provide crucial information that their medical team otherwise would not be able to obtain.
Thanks to information obtained from these blood tests and the extensive tumour tissue bank that has been established at University of Plymouth, the team are already finding new drug targets within meningioma cells and are testing reformulated and repurposed drugs.
They have just completed a phase 0 clinical trial that ruled out one potential compound, and are now focused on the next one. The advantage of re-purposing drugs in this way is that if they already have a proven safety track-record in humans, they can be moved more quickly into clinical trials than a new drug. The team will also be considering reformulations of such drugs, as it may be that a slight change to an existing drug may enhance effectiveness in this new situation.
In the future, blood tests and biomarkers will enable each subtype of meningioma to be treated with a personalised drug treatment that ensures maximum benefit with minimal side effects. New, reformulated or repurposed drugs that target only the cancer cells are being designed to avoid the damage currently done to healthy cells by standard chemotherapy regimes, hence reducing or avoiding side effects. New, reformulated or repurposed drugs that target only the cancer cells are being designed to avoid the damage currently done to healthy cells by standard chemotherapy regimes, hence reducing or avoiding side effects.
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- University of Plymouth Professor Oliver Hanemann delivers keynote speech