20 Jun 2024 Updates

Net4Brain – European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST-Action)

COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding organisation for research and innovation networks. A COST Action is an interdisciplinary research network that brings researchers and innovators together to investigate a topic for 4 years. JOANNEUM RESEARCH – HEALTH is currently part of the COST Action CA22103 – A comprehensive network against brain cancer (Net4Brain).

It is estimated that 3.24 million new cancer cases and 1.66 million cancer deaths will be registered across Europe in 2024 and 40,800 of these deaths are from brain and central nervous system (CNS) cancers. Despite extensive efforts in molecular biology research, advances in biomedical engineering, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data science, brain tumors remain among the deadliest forms of cancer, resisting almost all conventional and novel treatments. To date, the behavior of this devastating disease is not fully understood. To cure brain cancer, there are significant challenges in the early diagnosis, prognosis and patient stratification, drug development and drug resistance, and big data techniques. Addressing these challenges requires long-term continuous efforts and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Net4Brain aims to significantly facilitate the translation of fundamental scientific discoveries into better clinical treatment and management of patients suffering from brain cancer. The main objectives of this Net4Brain include: 1) to build an unique pan-European and multidisciplinary network focusing on brain cancer by combining state-of-the-art knowledge and innovative techniques; 2) to promote education and training in the areas of advanced neuroscience, neuroimaging, genetics and molecular biology, big data and computational techniques for the accurate early diagnosis, prognosis, patient stratification and treatment of patients with different types of brain cancer; and 3) to build an integrated pan-European brain cancer database and biobank platform for the benefit of the research and clinical community.

JOANNEUM RESEARCH – HEALTH expertise in Net4Brain is based on the cerebral open flow microperfusion (cOFM) technology that has been developed for neurological research and which   perfectly complements currently available state-of-the-art technologies. The recently developed OFM xenograft model is using cOFM to achieve an atraumatic access to a human glioblastoma xenograft that allows the investigation of living tumors on the molecular level. Currently, this method is used for efficacy testing of potential new drugs against human glioblastoma. The unique cOFM interface allows sampling of molecules from the brain tumor´s interstitial fluid regardless of their molecular size (ranging from small molecules up to nanoparticles and cells) after they have passed the intact blood-brain barrier (BBB). Moreover, cOFM materials allow unhindered tumor imaging with standard imaging methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). The combination of imaging methods and cOFM sampling from the tumor tissue can provide new insights into mechanisms of drug action and efficacy. With this newly generated information, drug developers can optimize their candidates at an early stage of the drug development, thus reducing the developmental costs and improving the clinical outcome of new products. In recent studies, we were able to investigate the metabolism of glioblastoma tumors, which makes the cOFM xenograft also an ideal tool in the search for new targets for future therapies of brain cancers such as glioblastoma.

More information about the Net4Brain – Cost Action can be found on www.net4brain-cost.eu.





JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
Thomas Kroath