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January 2019 - Monthly update

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

One topic that came up during the course of our GBM review was the general cost of treating GBM. As our mission statement includes entrepreneurial development as well as meeting medical and societal challenges in this field, this question is of particular relevance. As we reviewed this particular topic, three points became apparent:

  • Of all cancer types, GBM has seen the least improvement in mortality rates over the past several decades in comparison to other types such as carcinomas.

  • The incidence of GBM in the EU and USA is 2-3 per 100,000, making GBM an orphan disease.

  • For those afflicted with GBM, treatment cost is incredibly high. After reviewing this topic, we estimate that it costs $6-11 billion USD per year to treat 150,000 patients worldwide.

Clearly, improvements are needed. The cost of treatment, the current status of treatment, and the advantages of innovating in the field point toward the development of better tools for diagnosing, treating, and characterizing GBM in patients.

In terms of general news in the project, we have updates from ESR-7, Cristian Ruiz Moreno, and ESR-9, Erik Samuelsson.


“Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the deadliest form of brain cancer in adults. With new advances in the field of molecular biology/oncology, an increasing number of genomic/transcriptomic studies have pointed out a marked intra-tumor heterogeneity of GBM and its direct relationship with cancer development, maintenance and resistance. The influence of the epigenome in the pathogenesis of the disease is less understood. Through the use of single-cell (sc) technologies (e.g. scRNAseq and scATACseq), I expect to provide a genome wide panorama and new insights of the interactions between DNA regulatory elements and gene expression changes that might influence GBM progression and response to therapy. For these purposes, I will process primary tumor tissues according to previously established protocols. Profiling the transcriptome and epigenome of individual cancer/microenvironmental cells (e.g. immune cells) will allow us a better understanding of the GBM heterogeneity and cell-to-cell interactions inside the tumor which might help in the discovery of druggable targets and/or the designing of specific treatment protocols.”

Cristian Ruiz Moreno, ESR-7 at Radboud University, Netherlands


“I’m in the process of putting together a study profiling intratumoral heterogeneity in GBM using in situ sequencing, a next-generation sequencing technique that allows us to image genetic expression within tissue samples. By spatially mapping established GBM biomarkers, we will be able to see the distribution of different cell types throughout the tumor microenvironment. The application of this technique to GBM tumor classification represents an opportunity to improve clinical management of patients with these brain tumors.”

Erik Reinhold Samuelsson, ESR-9 at Stockholm University, Sweden

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