Proteomica/genomica/metabolomica per l’individuazione di biomarcatori e lo sviluppo di
una piattaforma di rivelazione ultrasensibile in fluidi corporei periferici: applicazione al
glioblastoma multiforme


Funded by: Regione Toscana  
Start date: 2017-03-17  End date: 2019-03-16
Total Budget: EUR 950.359,31  INO share of the total budget: EUR 309.600,00
Scientific manager: Marco Cecchini   and for INO is: Cicchi Riccardo

Organization/Institution/Company main assignee: Scuola Normale Superiore Classi di Scienze Matematiche e Naturali

other Organization/Institution/Company involved:
Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

other INO’s people involved:

Abstract: Early diagnosis of brain pathologies is hampered by the lack of specific biomarkers that can be detected in the blood during routine checks. The initial asymptomatic phase often leads to a progression of the disease to an intractable level before it can be detected and diagnosed. The lack of reliable biomarkers is imputable mainly to the presence of the brain blood barrier (BBB) ​​that isolates the brain from the rest of the body. Consequently, all putative biomarkers that can spread outside BBB pass it only in small quantities. The glioblastoma is a rare disease (GBM, ORPHA360) which is a clear example of this situation: it is the mosto common malignant cerebral tumor, with a prevalence of about 13 per 100,000 and is characterized by a low survival rate (4% after 5 years).
Although there is currently no technology that allows early diagnosis of the disease, a number of putative markers have been identified: their detection after diagnosis would be a useful tool to monitor the evolution of the tumor during treatment, providing valuable prognostic information on response to a given therapy and helping doctors to separate patients in distinct therapeutic groups to allow them to be optimally treated (” personalized ”), and for rationalizing costs.
In this project we will promote the convergence between clinical, genomic / proteomic, molecular cell biology and nanotechnology to develop a new pioneering ultrasensitive device for the detection of biomarkers, both new and already known, for GBM in peripheral fluids.
Since this technology platform is designed to simultaneously detect multiple biomarkers, it has the potential for being used as a diagnostic tool for a wide variety of pathologies. For example, it is hypothesized that Alzheimer’s disease, the main cause of dementia, progress for decades largely without symptoms before diagnosis, and one of the crucial issues for effective treatments is to develop the technology needed to detect very low levels of biomarkers in the early stage of the disease. In addition, convergent tests performed on molecular blood analysis (Serum / plasma) revealed peripheral molecular changes even in major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and bipolar disorders, suggesting that biomarkers can provide useful Diagnostic / Prognostic information related to these pathologies by detection in the circulating blood.

INO’s Experiments/Theoretical Study correlated:
Multimodal fibre-probe spectroscopy for tissue diagnostics
Multimodal microscopy for biological tissue imaging