Scientists and doctors from the city have taken up the challenge to find the tool to detect brain tumours in their early stage.
Early detection of brain tumours is crucial for providing treatment and saving lives as the tumour becomes very aggressive in the advanced stage.
The study is being conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) and the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) at Navi Mumbai with technical support from the John Hopkins Medical University, USA.
The study aims to identify bio markers, which are proteins in the blood that signal the presence of a tumour, and auto antibodies for various grades of brain tumours.
The concentration of proteins in the blood changes to indicate the presence of a disease and its severity.
“Detecting and identifying specific proteins for the different stages of the tumour progression would help in early diagnosis with the potential for targeted drug delivery,” said Professor Sanjeeva Srivastava, of the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering at IIT-B, who heads the research.
While auto-antibodies have been found for breast and ovarian cancers, Srivastava said finding these proteins for brain tumour would be a first.
“A comprehensive proteomic (study of proteins) analysis of gliiomas (brain tumours) would certainly be very useful," said Bert Vogelstein, Director, Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins.
The ACTREC has started collecting blood samples and tumour tissues of more than hundred brain tumour patients suffering from different grades, to identify specific proteins for each of the grades.
A CT scan or an MRI helps detect a brain tumour. Patients also take a histology test (testing the tumour tissues) to determine the cause, treatment and prognosis of cancer to detect the stage of the tumour. Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy or a combination of any of these.
But doctors said that most patients die within six months to a year after detection as early diagnosis of brain tumours is difficult.