Newsletter 11 – JUN 2022

Welcome to Newsletter No. 11

Latest news from Kings College Hospital, London:
Charlotte’s BAG recently gave £42,000 to the team at King’s College Hospital. This will cover some of the cost of recruiting a scientist and buying consumables for the next project. The next project will centre on establishing methods of genetic diagnosis for brain tumours. Using circulating tumour DNA in the cerebrospinal fluid and in the blood will give an extremely valuable and rapid way to diagnose and monitor brain tumours without the need
for invasive biopsy. Here is a more detailed and technical analysis from the King’s team:

The exact word of “liquid biopsy” is classically applied for circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA). Figure I is a diagnostic molecular test to run on a sample of plasma or cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) to detect cancer cells that are shedding from primary or metastatic tumours that are circulating in the blood or DNA fragments of tumour cells. Tissue biopsy is a snapshot of tumour and cannot cover tumour heterogeneity. Liquid biopsy, however can be beneficial for early diagnosis of cancer or to examine the treatment efficacy, and because of its non-invasive
nature, several samplings of blood or CSF over time are possible liquid biopsy, as a real-time representative of tumour, is a minimally invasive biopsy method . The purpose of liquid biopsy is to identify and examine the biological material circulating in body fluid, originating within and from the tumour.

The correct characterisation of central nervous system (CNS) malignancies is crucial for accurate diagnosis and prognosis and the identification of actionable genomic alterations that can guide the therapeutic strategy. Surgical biopsies are performed to characterise the tumour; however, these procedures are invasive and are not always feasible for all patients. Moreover, they only provide a static snapshot and can miss tumour heterogeneity. Currently, monitoring of CNS cancer is performed by conventional imaging techniques and, in some cases, cytology analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF); however, these techniques have limited sensitivity. To overcome these limitations, a liquid biopsy for instance of the CSF can be used to obtain information about the tumour in a less invasive manner. The CSF is a source of cell-free circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), and the analysis of this biomarker can characterise and monitor brain cancer. Recent studies have shown that ctDNA is more abundant in the CSF than plasma for CNS malignancies and that it can be sequenced to reveal tumour heterogeneity and provide diagnostic and prognostic information. Furthermore, analysis of longitudinal samples can aid patient monitoring by detecting residual disease or even tracking tumour evolution at relapse and, therefore, tailoring the therapeutic strategy.

In incredibly exciting news, Charlotte has had a fellowship named in her honour at King’s College Hospital, London. A massive thank you to the team there for organising this truly touching tribute to Charlotte and her work. A spokesperson from a member of the Charlotte’s BAG team based at King’s said:

“The fellowship is awarded in Charlotte’s name because of the impact she had on us all prior to her passing and since through the great work of the charity which has gone above and beyond to fund a lab at King’s and a scientist.”

The fellowship is named the Charlotte Eades Academic and Clinical Fellowship in Neurosurgery.

At the end of June 2022, Alex, Miles and Team Charlotte, a team of colleagues from Cardinal Newman School, Hove, will be walking The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge! They will be driving up to Yorkshire on Saturday 25th June, walking the Three Peaks on Sunday 26th, and returning to school on the 27th. The challenge – asides from the obvious blisters and aching legs – is to complete the 24 mile course in 12 hours. If you would like to donate the link is here:

New logo
We are delighted to update the Charlotte’s BAG logo. We felt that this really summed up, quite literally, Charlotte’s BAG. A huge thank you to the graphic designer who worked with Alex and Miles pro bono to achieve this fantastic and vibrant design: