Cerebrospinal fluid diagnostics

CSF diagnostics of brain tumors based on single tumor cells

Primary and secondary tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) continue to be associated with an unfavorable prognosis. This is due on the one hand to the cellular heterogeneity and on the other hand to a genetic adaptation and selection of aggressive cell clones under therapy. An additional handicap is that tissue biopsies pose considerable risks for patients because of the tumor location in the CNS, making it difficult to perform molecular characterization at short intervals in the course of the disease.

© Fraunhofer ITEM
The semiautomated DEPArrayTM technology enables molecular analysis of single cells.

Scientists of the Fraunhofer ITEM Division of Personalized Tumor Therapy, therefore, are collaborating with the study group on primary and secondary malignant brain tumors in adults of the Bavarian Cancer Research Center (BZKF) to develop technologies for minimally invasive, longitudinal, molecular genetic characterization of such cancers. For this purpose, they analyze cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected from patients by means of lumbar puncture in the sense of a liquid biopsy, to detect small numbers of tumor cells and evaluate other relevant biomarkers. The aims of this project are, firstly, to define pre-analytical standards for biomarker studies with CSF and, secondly, to develop molecular genetic tests based on panel sequencing, i.e. sequencing of a set of clinically relevant genes. It is intended to use these tests initially in clinical trials and, in the long term, for predictive diagnostics of CNS tumors.


Bernhard Michael Polzer

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Priv.-Doz. Dr. Bernhard Michael Polzer

Manager of the Working Group on Cellular and Molecular Diagnostics