Principal investigator at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana: prof. dr. Janja Ocvirk
At the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana are treated patients with different types of tumors, using also the new treatment modalities, including targeted drugs and immunotherapy. This research programme will continue to explore already established and develop new prognostic and predictive factors that can predict the response to the treatment. This will help us in finding the best personalized approach to every patient and offer the optimal treatment to each individual cancer patient. Knowing the biomarkers status in patients with various cancers can give us information about the course of the disease and the response to the treatment. Early discovery of a disease recidive or progression enables oncologists for early treatment and therapeutic strategy change when we can catch the disease while in a smaller scale and the patient in a better condition. Consequently a longer survival of the patient will be achieved.
For this aim, genetic analyzes of cancerous tissue and / or body liquids assessed with next generation sequencing will be incorporated. Sequencing of target genes can determine various genetic changes or mutations, and change of the molecular profile of the disease in the course of the treatment or in the case of disease progression. Different gene mutations are more typical for certain cancers and their treatment, and they also show the different organic affinity of cancer cells for breeding. The next generation sequencing is a new tool, already validated and highly sensitive to detect the changes in the dynamics of the disease or changes in the molecular profile of the disease very early and can provide data for the simultaneous detection and identification of fusions, point mutations, and the expression level of more than hundred genes specific to different cancers. Here we will develop some new potential biomarkers that can predict the affinity of the cancer cells for breading, like the presence of gene mutations for Tropomyosin receptor kinase (NTRK1, NTRK2, NTRK3) that indicate affinity for the brain, with a poor prognosis or high expression of interferon alpha (IFN) genes, assessed by Interferon Gamma Messenger RNA Signature, that can be a predictive factor for a better response to immunotherapy (PD1 / PDL1 inhibitors).
New knowledge and new tumor biomarkers will be eventually implemented in treatment of cancer patients in Slovenia.