As a member charity of Brain Tumour Research, Brainwaves NI are delighted with this amazing research breakthrough against the most aggressive brain tumours. Read their article below:
A simple blood test could help diagnose high-grade brain tumours in the future sparing patients from high-risk surgery. The new technique has been proven for glial tumours including glioblastoma (GBM), the most commonly diagnosed high-grade brain tumour in adults.
The findings of a clinical study which took place at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Imperial College London could mean patients with suspected high-grade gliomas, including GBM, astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas, could get quicker confirmation of the presence of a glioma tumour, potentially speeding up the start of their treatment. It could also eliminate the need for surgical biopsies which carry significant risk, particularly for those with underlying health conditions.
Crucially, as well as speeding up diagnoses in patients who cannot have biopsies – which is vital for fast-growing, highly aggressive cases – this new technology is inexpensive and simple to implement within the clinic setting, meaning that it can easily be adopted by clinicians to improve care.
The work has already attracted the attention of the body responsible for advancing public health in the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and hopes are now of a larger study here in the UK which, if successful, could mean patients with suspected high-grade tumours benefit from this breakthrough in as little as two years.
Dr Nel Syed, who leads our Centre at Imperial, said: “A non-invasive, inexpensive method for the early detection of brain tumours is critical for improvements in patient care. There is still some way to go, but this solution could help people where a brain biopsy or surgical resection of the tumour is not possible due to the location of the tumour or other constraints. Through this technology, a diagnosis of inaccessible tumours can become possible through a risk-free and patient-friendly blood test. We believe this could be a world-first as there are currently no non-invasive or non-radiological tests for this type of tumour.
The TriNetre-Glio blood test works by isolating tumour cells that have broken free from the tumour circulating in the blood. The isolated cells are then stained and can be identified under a microscope. The work has been funded by Datar Cancer Genetics.
GBM patient Steve Ackroyd was initially misdiagnosed with and treated for epilepsy, with his brain tumour diagnosis coming three months later, in August 2022. The 47-year-old, who has a 12-year-old daughter, had a biopsy followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy and is currently undergoing immunotherapy treatment in Germany, financed through a crowdfunding page his wife, Francesca, set up.
Francesca said: “In Steve’s case he went through a surgical biopsy to determine his tumour type, and we also found out that its diffuse nature meant it is inoperable. We waited seven weeks for the results only to find out that the tissue was later deemed to be a ‘poor sample.’ Unfortunately, all the delays cost us precious time when he could have been on treatment.