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“We need to understand cancer better in order to treat it properly”

Brain tumors are treacherous: They are almost impossible to treat successfully, and even less aggressive subtypes can suddenly grow rapidly. More accurate predictions at an individual basis could allow for a more accurate diagnosis and specific treatment plan. This is what Monika Hegi is researching.

Prof. Monika Hegi in her Laboratory of Brain Tumour Biology and Genetics - LBGT

Monika Hegi, what does your research focus on?
Monika Hegi
: Our current project is about low-grade gliomas. These are slow-growing subtypes of brain tumors. But they are no less dangerous because of this: Their growth can suddenly increase sharply. This moment should not be missed. But treatment too early is also associated with risks and can have a negative impact on the quality of life of those affected. With more accurate prognoses, we could minimize these risks in the future and thus improve patients' chances of recovery. That's what we're researching.

How do you go about it?
We are studying the tumor tissue samples of around one hundred patients at the molecular level. We are also analyzing the clinical data of these individuals. By comparing these data, we can identify molecular patterns that predict which tumors grow quickly and which grow slowly.

Are there already initial results?
The project is still in its infancy. By collecting data from our patient group, we have already achieved an important partial goal. We also have tissue samples of good quality, which cannot be taken for granted. These are the best prerequisites for our ongoing analyses.

What findings do you hope to achieve?
Our goal is to develop molecular markers with which we can classify patients and make certain predictions about their disease progression. This would enable us to identify at an early stage of cancer which treatment methods would be particularly promising for which patients and at what point in time.