Professor Dr. Giorgio Stanta
Title of Presentation
Session D3 – Companion diagnostics: how can biobanks support their development? - Archived tissues for biomarker discovery
Session D4 – Networking across European medical societies for enhancing translational – Expert Center for archive tissues: a possibility to accelerate clinical research
Date and Place
Session: D3 & D4
For many years Prof. Giorgio Stanta’s main interest has been the application of molecular analysis to fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues (all human tissues of biopsy or surgical origin), called archive tissues. This research line started thanks to his collaboration with the researchers who first applied molecular biology techniques to human diseases at Yale University, where Professor Stanta worked from 1985 to 1988. Since then he has developed several methods, in particular for RNA analysis. Professor Stanta is the coordinator of the European project “Archive Tissues: Improving Molecular Medicine Research and Clinical Practice – IMPACTS” (www.impactsnetwork.eu), involving around 20 European universities in 11 different countries. The IMPACTS group wrote the book “Guidelines for Molecular Analysis in Archive Tissues”, that is now one of the best selling books published by Springer Verlag. He is taking part as an expert in the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research European Infrastructure (BBMRI). He is the chairman of the Molecular Pathology WG of the European Society of Pathology, the chairman of the Biobanking and Molecular Pathobiology WG of the Organization of European Cancer Institutes and he was appointed by the European Society of Medical Oncology to be member of the Faculty of Genetic Pathology.
Abstract Session D4 – Networking across European medical societies for enhancing translational
In the recent evolution of precision medicine, molecular analysis in patients’ tissues and blood will be increasingly important to define a more specific treatment. To perform clinical research directly on today’s patients it is necessary to develop new clinical skills and the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) has been developing for many years a programme of accreditation and designation for comprehensive cancer centres that is implying not only high diagnostic and treatment levels, but also capabilities of clinical research directly performed on patients. To standardize these methods, developed by the OECI Molecular Pathology WG, groups were set up in collaboration with the ESP and BBMRI. All types of clinical trials are today criticized because they include only very large and ill-defined categories of patients. In today clinical research, just the clinical material of the patients are used (fixed and paraffin embedded tissues – archive tissues) to better define the molecular characteristics of patients for a more efficient combinatorial targeted therapy. Nowadays it is possible to have, in archive tissues, very sophisticated molecular analysis on the DNA, RNA and protein level with extractive and in-situ methods. For this it is necessary to develop wide networks and the availability of specific Expert Centres that can help any clinical institution. This kind of study in archive tissues can accelerate verification and validation of biomarkers and targets of therapy, and collaboration with industry may take to new types of more effective and reproducible studies.
Abstract Session D3 – Companion diagnostics: how can biobanks support their development?
Archived tissues for biomarker discovery
Fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues of pathology archives can be an important source for retrospective studies devoted to new clinical biomarker discoveries. This is possible with very careful well-standardized analytical methods, and taking into consideration the effects of tumour heterogeneity. We know that genetic factors have an influence on the efficiency of therapy with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Nowadays, the only accepted molecular marker predictive of the response to anti-EGFR mAbs is the somatic mutation of KRAS and NRAS as a marker of resistance to anti-EGFR. Anyway, only part of RAS wild-type patients benefit from that treatment. In 2015 we published a study showing that a EGFR gene polymorphism defines a subpopulation of 12% of patients with a better clinical outcome after anti-EGFR treatment. Median PFS for patients with the GG genotype was 10.17 months compared to 5.37 of those with AG+AA genotypes. Our findings altogether could be used to better define CRC populations that respond to anti-EGFR therapy. Some more studies in larger independent populations need to be performed to further validate this observation that a synonymous polymorphism in EGFR gene impacts on clinical responsiveness.