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“To tailor the treatment plan”: A new test has been developed to predict the development of brain cancers

“To tailor the treatment plan”: A new test has been developed to predict the development of brain cancers

How can we predict the risk of aggressive brain cancer in children and decide about the possible development of this tumor? Researchers from Gustave Roussy have developed a test to meet these two priorities.

Every cancer has its own story. By carefully monitoring the development of each patient and each tumor, doctors can determine the most appropriate treatment protocol.

Tumor detection

The movement of cancer cells is actually “an important prognostic factor of the disease (…) that affects survival” in an important way, emphasizes Dr. Jacques Grill, pediatric oncologist at Gustave Roussy***.

“The faster cancer cells move, the more likely a glioma is to metastasize to the brain, with a greater risk associated with a more severe prognosis. This ability to invade and migrate partly explains the failure of treatments for this disease.” Dr. Grill.

Predict the course of the disease over several weeks

How convincing is this test? “The results, obtained within two to three weeks, make it possible to predict in a specific and sensitive way how the disease will develop in the subsequent few weeks or months to adapt the radiotherapy schedule,” explains Dr. Grill.

In the future, this test could help caregivers “personalize radiation therapy.” While working on its development, scientists also highlighted “various cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with these cancers.”

They were thus able to isolate the BMP7 gene, which is directly involved in “modulating the speed of invasion.” “Its effects can be blocked by targeted therapies” to prevent the risk of metastases.

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Important findings given that today these pediatric brain cancers remain “often inoperable and difficult to treat despite radiotherapy (which targets the tumor locally, editor’s note) and advances in the management of childhood cancers in recent years.”

* Infiltrative brainstem or diffuse midline gliomas

**The test was developed “from cancer stem cells from 22 young patients with diffuse midline glioma, 9 of whom developed brain metastases.”

***Dr. Jack Grill is responsible for the Pediatric Brain Tumors Hub of the CRESCENDO Research Programme, which supports the Cure Childhood Cancer in the 21st Century campaign.