A Girona hospital introduces innovative method in treatment of lung cancer
Installation of state-of-the-art equipment marks huge leap forward for Trueta Hospital and whole Girona region
The Trueta Hospital in Girona, northern Catalonia, is advancing its treatment of cancer patients with the incorporation of innovative equipment in its Pathological Anatomy Service. Until now, its molecular biology section was small and insufficient to meet the needs of the region, meaning samples had to be sent to Barcelona for analysis.
“With the shipment of samples to Barcelona, it involved a journey and the workload of the laboratories there, which delayed the diagnosis,” said Eugeni López-Bonet, the head of the Pathological Anatomy Service at the hospital.
Thanks to a donation of 23,000 euros from the Oncolliga Foundation, the hospital has been able to install new equipment thus expanding this area. For the first time ever, the hospital will be able to make liquid biopsies. They have begun tests on lung cancer patients that, with a simple blood extraction can obtain valuable biomarkers to monitor the disease and its treatment.
“We can earn days and surely weeks, we can now know from here whether patients should receive a specific treatment,” said López-Bonet. In the entire county of Girona, Hospital Girona is the only the hospital that can carry out this service.
What are liquid biopsies?
A liquid biopsy avoids having to make tissue biopsies, therefore the patient does not need to be put under anaesthesia nor suffer the usual discomforts such a procedure entails, such as blood loss. This technique also overcomes the difficulty of extracting tissue samples from hard-to-reach places.
With the new devices, the Trueta Hospital can assume the study of biomarkers of the samples generated thus improving the diagnosis of oncology patients, and facilitating medical professionals with the monitoring of the disease and treatment.
A question of progress
The tests are currently designed for pulmonary tumors, but the technology will also allow the study of colon cancer and, soon that of skin. According to López-Bonet, "it will be progressive and there will be more and more cancer patients that will be able to benefit."
The money came from donations made by teams participating in the Oncotrail solidarity race this year. This is the first time that some of these donations have been sent to the Trueta hospital.
The director of Oncotrail, Lluís Comet, recalled that his role is “to help improve the conditions of cancer patients” and believes that it is “right” to have invested in this new equipment.
“We will gain time,” he said referring to the treatment of cancer patients. He has also said that they are confident they can continue to make contributions to the hospital in the next editions.
The director of Trueta Hospital Glòria Padura has expressed her gratitude, emphasizing that it will allow for the advance treatment and diagnosis of cancers.