International Conference Brain Tumors: From Bench To Clinic

1 December 2019 0 By Roberto Pugliese

It is with great pleasure that we inform you that we have been invited and have participated to the international conference “Brain tumors: from the bench to the clinic” which took place on November 26th 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The conference was organized as part of the Interreg project TRANS-GLIOMA, by the Medical Center for Molecular Biology, Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana and by the National Biology Institute.

The conference discussed current challenges in the diagnosis and treatment of gliomas and presented some state-of-the-art research technologies and methodologies.

At the conference, our task was to bring the patients’ point of view and launch the idea of ​​an advisor system that could recommend the best therapeutic approaches taking into account the state of the art and the specific case of the patient. Patients and their families often find it difficult to make decisions also because of the difficult emotional state that a brain tumor diagnosis carries with. The feedback was positive even though the necessary intermediation by the competent doctor was underlined to guarantee a correct interpretation of the information.

During the conference, in addition to the state of the project, the clinical aspects of the progression of brain tumors and their treatment and in general the frontiers of research were discussed.

The most advanced techniques of radiotherapy were analyzed and the construction of a new proton therapy center at the Aviano CRO (Italy) was confirmed, which should be operating in 2021.

The latest innovations in the neurosurgical treatment of gliomas have been described. There has also been much discussion aboutglioblastoma stem cells which are the main cause of resistance to treatments. In fact, these cells are protected by a niche, they reproduce slowly and are therefore immune to current treatments and learn by generating new cancer cells that become more and more resident to the treatments. Some approaches are being discussed in order to be able to destroy the glioblastoma stem cells which are in some respects similar to some bone marrow cells.

The conference focused also on immunotherapy, the need for personalized treatments, new cellular models and the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to speed up research and facilitate a personalized and precision approach to the treatment of high-grade gliomas.

One of the problems that makes glioblastomas so difficult to treat is the inability to make an early diagnosis. Liquid biopsy can provide some answers in this regard.

In the last 20 years there has not been a significant improvement in life expectancy in the case of a diagnosis of glioblastoma but now there are interesting developments.

In order that these developments could lead to improvements and one day find a cure for glioblastoma multiforme it is essential that the various research centers collaborate and also that we find forms of long-term research funding to ensure continuity.