I was rereading last year’s editorial article (Glioblastoma.IT 2021). The candle in memory of Emanuele is still always lit. This candle therefore continues to be a symbol, a symbol of hope for all patients with glioblastoma multiforme and their loved ones.
I was thinking about what we did in 2022. The first thing I noticed was that at the end of 2021 the number of users of the site, as also reported in the editorial at the time, was 102,000. Today we are over 196,000, an exponential growth which on the one hand fills me with joy and on the other means that many people still get sick with glioblastoma. Indeed, as the article published a few days ago on the ANSA channel dedicated to Health and Wellness says, it is constantly growing.
As you know, I am interested in Artificial Intelligence and I believe that in a few years systems based on Artificial Intelligence will be consulted to make medical diagnoses. Already today some of these systems provide surprising results. I report below the outcome of a dialogue I just had with ChatGPT one of the most famous Artificial Intelligence systems that was educated with all the knowledge available online.
“Roberto> explain glioblastoma in simple terms
ChatGPT> Glioblastoma is a type of brain cancer. It is a cancerous (malignant) tumor that starts in cells called astrocytes, which are a type of glial cell in the brain. Glioblastoma is a very aggressive form of cancer, meaning it grows and spreads quickly. It is one of the most common and most aggressive types of brain cancer in adults. Symptoms of glioblastoma may include headache, seizures, difficulty with speech or memory, and weakness on one side of the body. The treatment for glioblastoma typically involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Unfortunately, despite treatment, glioblastoma is usually incurable and is often fatal. The average survival time for people with glioblastoma is about 15 months.
Roberto> are there any innovative therapies for glioblastoma?
ChatGPT> There are several experimental and innovative therapies being developed and tested for the treatment of glioblastoma, including:
Immunotherapy: This involves using the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. Some immunotherapy drugs, such as checkpoint inhibitors, work by blocking proteins that cancer cells use to evade the immune system. Other types of immunotherapy, such as cancer vaccines, help the immune system recognize and attack cancer cells.
Targeted therapy: This involves using drugs that specifically target certain proteins or pathways in cancer cells, while leaving normal cells unaffected. For example, some targeted therapies are designed to block the growth and spread of cancer cells by inhibiting the signaling pathways that cancer cells rely on to grow and divide.
Gene therapy: This involves using viruses or other means to deliver healthy copies of genes to cells that are not functioning properly. Some gene therapies are being developed to target cancer cells and help the immune system recognize and attack them.
Photodynamic therapy: This involves using a light-sensitive drug and a special light source to kill cancer cells. The light-sensitive drug is absorbed by cancer cells, and when it is exposed to a specific wavelength of light, it becomes active and kills the cancer cells.
Stem cell therapy: This involves using stem cells, which are immature cells that have the ability to develop into different types of cells, to repair or replace damaged tissue. Some researchers are exploring the use of stem cells as a way to repair or regenerate damaged brain tissue in people with glioblastoma.
It’s important to note that these therapies are still in the early stages of development and are not yet widely available. They are being tested in clinical trials to determine their safety and effectiveness.
Roberto> if you were diagnosed with glioblastoma today what will you do?
ChatGPT> If I were diagnosed with glioblastoma, the first thing I would do is seek the advice of medical professionals who are experts in treating this type of cancer. This would typically include a team of doctors, including a neurosurgeon, a medical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist.
Based on the recommendations of my medical team, I would consider all of my treatment options, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. I would also consider participating in clinical trials if they were available and deemed appropriate for my situation.In addition to seeking medical treatment, I would also take steps to manage my symptoms and improve my quality of life. This might involve working with a physical therapist to maintain or improve my physical function, seeking support from a mental health professional to cope with the emotional impact of the diagnosis, and making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
I would also make sure to communicate openly with my medical team and loved ones, and to take an active role in my own care and decision-making. I would aim to stay as informed as possible about my condition and treatment options, and to advocate for myself and my needs.”
Incredible, that’s probably what a glioblastoma expert would say today if asked the same questions. The voluntary association called “Glioblastoma.IT ODV” from this year has an authoritative scientific committee that supports us in the decision-making processes as a consultative body. The organization continued to organize video conferences with the participation of distinguished specialists and a lively question and answer session in which specialists answer questions from patients and carers. The project which provides for the publication every two months of an article summarizing the latest research news continues to arouse considerable interest.
Thanks to your generosity it was possible to raise around €24,000 which will go to finance both the services offered by the association (in particular Glioblastoma Navigator) and to co-finance the compassionate use of experimental therapies. Currently, the laws in force allow the use of therapies only in the event of failure of first-line therapies, which means that they cannot be applied to new diagnoses but only in the event of a recurrence. Glioblastoma Navigator is almost ready and will be available early this year.
The hope for 2023 is to do at least what we did this year, continuing to organize events with specialists (the next one is scheduled for January 18), to write articles to continue informing you and raising awareness of the importance of finding more effective treatments for this pathology. So we just have to thank you for following us with so much interest during 2022 and wish you a happy and peaceful 2023!