22.11. 2013 BioTurku®

New markers reflect tumor heterogeneity and guide therapy options

Biomarker assays reflecting tumor heterogeneity can reveal important information about the aggressiveness and possible metastasis of cancer. Furthermore, they can facilitate treatment decisions and make it easier to monitor patient’s response to treatment. The Second Spotlight on Diagnostics – Evolving Applications – symposium in Turku had spotlight on cancer.

The second Spotlight on Diagnostics symposium in Turku Science Park had almost 300 participants. PHOTO: Seppo Sarimo.

The national DIA-NET doctoral programme, Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Division of Biotechnology at University of Turku and Indo-Finnish diagnostic research center (IFDRC) organized The Second Spotlight on Diagnostics – Evolving Applications – symposium in Turku on November 20-22, 2013. This symposium was the second instalment to the highly successful 20-year Anniversary Symposium organized by the Division of Biotechnology at University of Turku last year, and presented new methods to analyse heterogeneity of prostate cancer in blood and tissue samples. These new techniques can also be applied to the diagnostics of other cancer types. In addition to cancer heterogeneity and related personalized medicine, the Spotlight on Diagnostics symposium focused on challenges and opportunities in the development of diagnostics of infectious and cardiovascular diseases, as well as point-of-care medicine.

The symposium featured lectures by professor Guido Jenster from Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands and post-graduate student Sami Blom from Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, Helsinki. They reported recent discoveries from their work on new technologies measuring the heterogeneity of prostate cancer. These findings have the potential to allow doctors to choose more accurate and effective therapies for their patients in the future.

Prostate cancer is the leading type of cancer in men and most common type of cancer in Finland. Every year approximately 4700 men in Finland are diagnosed with the disease. Even though all of these patients share some common disease characteristics, there are no two identical tumors. This heterogeneity of cancer presents formidable challenges to the physicians selecting the optimal treatment for each patient.