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Impact Tumors: improving brain cancer screening

Published on February 11, 2016 Updated on June 7, 2018
At the end of 2015, Centrale Nantes and INSERM Bordeaux (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) alongside other partners such as the project pilot Bull, began their collaboration on the 3-year ‘Impact Tumors’ project within the Bpifrance framework.
The Centrale Nantes team is composed of Professor Francisco Chinesta, internationally recognised for his research work, and Domenico Borzacchiello, research engineer, together with PhD students. Their subject: brain cancer.

Surgery is the preferred treatment for both malignant and benign brain tumours which are deemed operable. The procedure involves removing all or part of the tumour to cure the patient or promote healing. Surgery can also have a decompressive purpose: as the skull is rigid, any increase in brain volume due to the presence of tumours can result in excessive intracranial pressure with the risk of the patient lapsing into a coma. In such cases, surgery involves removing sufficient tumour tissue to reduce the excessive pressure.

This pressure is the focus of the team's research: namely, how to use the images to predict the pressure exerted on the patient's skull. This is a crucial issue as the tumour develops according to intracranial pressure and the more it grows, the more likely it is to cause permanent damage. Models already exist to simulate tumour development, but they do not take the pressure of surrounding tissue into account.

Doctors however, need to know what pressure is exerted on the tumour and what pressure the tumour itself exerts. The research is, therefore, focused on creating numerical tools that are capable of rebuilding the pressure map at each point of the brain using a simple patient-specific image (personalised medicine). This information is crucial for doctors: it helps them make decisions (whether to operate or not), predict tumour progression and plan operations.

Published on February 11, 2016 Updated on June 7, 2018