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09 April 2024

Researchers review use of MRI to identify brain cancer biomarkers

King’s researchers reviewed the benefits of medical imaging to predict cancer patients’ response to treatments.

MRI Brain Biomarkers

Researchers from the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences (BMEIS) have published a systematic review exploring the use of MRI imaging techniques to identify non-invasive biomarkers in brain cancer. These scan biomarkers could then be useful to indicate how well a patient might respond to personalised immunotherapy treatments.

Brain cancers are provisionally diagnosed with an MRI scan, and then a complete diagnosis is made with a tumour sample obtained following subsequent surgery.

Successfully identifying particular biomarkers from brain cancer before surgery has the potential to allow immunotherapy treatments early in the patient pathway. In so doing, the early personalisation of treatment options might improve care for patients.

In recent years immunotherapy has shown potential to personalise treatment for several different types of cancer including glioblastoma, one of the deadliest brain cancers in adults.

The review gives an insight for future work in this field to develop more robust and reproducible biomarkers.

We have investigated the potential of using imaging techniques to discover biomarkers in glioblastoma that could predict a patient's response to immunotherapy, aiming to tailor treatments more precisely. However, our findings highlight the need for more extensive, validated research to overcome challenges in accuracy and broad applicability of these biomarkers.

Dr Prajwal Ghimire, Senior Neurosurgical Registrar (KCH) and PhD Candidate, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences

Our research suggests that special brain scan markers could one day help doctors customize treatment plans for brain cancer patients, potentially making treatments more effective. However, we're still early in our journey, needing more studies to truly understand how to use these markers effectively and ensure they work for everyone.

Dr Thomas Booth, Reader in Neuroimaging, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences

In this story

Thomas  Booth

Reader in Neuroimaging