November 26, 2015 – Brain Tumor Monitoring


Anchor lead:  Can new techniques allow better monitoring of brain tumors? Elizabeth Tracey reports

All cells shed DNA into blood and bodily fluids when they break open, a fact that’s being exploited in discerning whether cancers have returned or metastasized.  Now the same technique has been used in looking at brain tumors, where the DNA is shed into the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord known as CSF or cerebrospinal fluid.  Jon Weingart, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Weingart: This is a new concept that’s been developed in cancer research and in cancer monitoring where there’s evidence that cells as they die or break up in their natural growth or with treatment, that the DNA that’s within them gets shed out into the bloodstream or into other bodily fluids.  This DNA is different than the patient’s normal DNA.  There are unique fingerprints so to speak of the tumor DNA that can be detected elsewhere in the body.   :29

Weingart is one member of a group at Hopkins with a recent publication showing detection of over 70% of tumor markers using the technique. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.