Since November 2011 a project with the title »Identification of New Glioma Biomarkers as Potential Diagnostic and Therapeutic Targets« which is cofunded within European Program of cross-border cooperation Slovenia-Italy 2007-2013 has been taking place. This three year bilateral project with acronym GLIOMA connects five scientific-health institutions from Slovenia and Italy which do brain tumour research. The budget is 1.320.000,00 EUR with the duration of 36 months. The regions involved are Udine, Trieste, Venice and Slovenian coast with central Slovenia Region.
The main aim of the project GLIOMA is to increase competitiveness and to develop a knowledge-based society. Specifically, the operating goal is to form an international network of health institutions and research centres with the certificate of excellence, which are introducing biotechnology into oncology. This will ease the technology transfer of innovative products for diagnostics and treatment purposes of human glioma into industry within the project area. This will indirectly increase the number of companies achieving a high added value in both countries.
Cancer incidence is increasing because of the polluted environment and an unhealthy life style. The increased incidence has also been noticed in brain tumours, among them the most malignant form, glioblastoma. This cancer is very aggressive (the average life expectancy of patients with glioblastoma is one year). Because of resistance to conventional and also modern treatment approaches the research should be focused in searching for new molecular targets and biomarkers in order to improve diagnosis and prediction of treatment response and prognosis. New treatment possibilities, supported by new knowledge and the development of new technologies will not only raise the efficiency of treatment and the quality of life of the patients, they will also contribute to general public health on both sides of the border.
The project is also focused on the role of glioma stem cells in disease progression. Results of these activities will contribute to new forms of important diagnostic (staging of disease, predicted response to treatment) and potential therapeutic tools. By integrating the newest strategies on planning a specific treatment for each patient, we are approaching the desired concept of personalised healthcare treatment in oncology.
The effects of these activities will bring significant economic benefits and more efficient health service. The influence of this project is significant and wide considering the competitiveness of program area and its effects on the quality of life in the whole cross-border region.
The principal investigator of the project is Prof. Dr. Tamara Lah Turnšek. Other partners from Slovenia besides NIB are:
University of Ljubljana, Medical Faculty, Institute of Pathology
University of Ljubljana, Medical Faculty, Institute of Biochemistry, Medical Centre for Molecular Biology,
University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Department of Neurosurgery,
Project partners from Italy:
University Hospital in Udine,
Synchrotron Trieste and Health
Social Company from Chioggia.