Diego Marzese and Javier Orozco are researchers and health professionals who work tirelessly in seeking effective treatments for cancer. Ten years took them to brain tumor studies and a week ago they were recognized throughout the world. In the dialogue with MDZ, they told about what the research was.
Cancer is a complex disease. Sometimes the reason for its appearance is unknown, the treatment is not effective and that's when a continuous search for more information begins.
A week ago, the journal Nature Communications published an investigation into Mendoza Marzese and Javier Orozco, from Mendoza, about brain tumors, which left the Argentine science above.
Professionals study how these tumors originate, so treatments that must be followed are more effective. The investigation began in 2008 but was carried out with more power in 2013. They analyzed 165 cases of patients with brain tumors including brain metastases from breast cancer, lung cancer and skin cancer.
At present, both Diego and Javier live abroad. The first, in Spain, and the second in the United States. They agreed to describe the reality of Argentine science as "critical". Researchers say that there is little funding or problems when paying scholarships. They also emphasize that science is very important to achieve "Intellectual independence" a country.
Marzese is trained as a researcher in molecular biology and Orozco is a medical oncologist. Both of them decided to bet on training and ongoing services to the community, to produce knowledge that is important for all people who suffer from this disease.
– How long is the investigation and publication needed?
-Diego Marzese: In particular the research ideas that have just been published in brain metastasis began to form in 2013, after I published the first epigenetic map of the development of skin cancer. However, our study began in 2008 in Mendoza, on a project aimed at studying nearly 110 patients with breast cancer. The research was conducted between Cuyo National University, IHEM and IMBECU directed by doctors María Roqué and Laura Vargas Roig, who managed to install and carry out this type of investigation in Mendoza with a very unusual idea at the time. But it also has a collaboration of very good medical groups from the Italian Hospital and the Gyneco-Mamary Institute which include doctor Francisco Gago, Olga Tello and a resident who was in his second year of specialization in Tocoginecology, Javier Orozco, that 10 years later he was the first author of published studies. For me, what Javier has done, suspending clinical practice to plunge into the gap of translational-basic research, is a good example of not stopping learning and continuing medical education.
– What is the situation of science and researchers in Argentina?
-DM: Although I have not had the opportunity to actively conduct research in Argentina for a long time, I have many colleagues with whom we share friendship or research projects and their experiences. My opinion is that the situation is very important. Either because of the availability of scarce financing or due to delays in the payment of research projects that were given last month. The most painful thing is that he tried to discredit Argentine scientists and science. And I think that has been achieved to some extent, trying to make sure that research is not important in our country, or that those who are dedicated to research waste little time and resources on the country. In my opinion, nothing is more wrong than that thought, just need to look at how countries that aspire to a sustainable financial situation strengthen scientific research and thus produce intellectual "independence".
-What do you think about when you look at the research that you publish? And on this particular occasion, how does it help people and their health?
-DM: I mix several types of sensations. The first is a very big emotion, a feeling of doing a good job, even if it is not the end of the investigation; anxiety to find out how research will impact other studies in the area, how it will be accepted, how it will be used to build something better. The second is the feeling of releasing stress, looking back and seeing the accumulation of lack of sleep and personal time for my family, friends, holidays, personal care, etc. The truth is that I think that with every study, a little life is left, it closes and what remains is trapped there, the effort and sacrifice, will not return. Fortunately, the first sensation occurred and one of them went to the next step in the investigation. On this particular occasion the two types of sensations were strengthened by the magnitude of the accepted journals to publish results and in the hope that we have what we have found to be, or lay the groundwork for, precision diagnostic methods for patients with cerebral metastasis, which ultimately makes it possible to determine the type of tumor and therapeutic possibilities, without the need for surgery. Even though this is still a lot of work, we are on our way and in this study we offer tools for us or other research groups to achieve it.
– Where and how are they currently working?
-DM and JO: This research was conducted almost entirely at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, California. We have collaborative scientists from several centers in the United States and Australia, both for patients included and to improve the analytical level of research. Our idea, for the second stage of this study, is to apply this molecular classifier to the cerebrospinal fluid biopsy and thus, actually estimate the actual clinical application of the system. For this stage, it would be very good to collaborate with neurosurgery and neuro-oncology groups in our country, as well as specialists in clinical studies, so as to take advantage of the dissemination of our publications, we invite those interested in participating to contact us.
– Are you working on a new investigation? What are they about?
-DM and JO: Well, the investigation continues. We are investigating how tumor triple-negative breast cancer patients can hide from attacks of the immune system, become a kind of ghost and survive with care. This second project might involve the Mendoza research group. We hope logically that the two studies will be disseminated as our latest publication.
-For people who may not understand technical and scientific languages, how can they summarize the research published in NatureCommunications?
-DM and JO: Studies published in Scientific Data and Natural Communication aim to mark changes in tumor DNA with diagnostic utilities for primary and metastatic brain tumors. The study, published in Scientific Data magazine, explains in detail how we managed to dissect tumor cell populations, extracting genomic DNA from the three most common types of brain metastases, such as breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma. The study, published in Nature Communications, is clearly the most important of both, summarizing how we have built, adapted and validated BrainMETHs, precision epigenetic classification that makes it possible to distinguish between brain metastases and brain tumors, between brain metastases from different origins, and between metastases brain. with different therapeutic subtypes, in patients with advanced breast cancer. We have adapted a laboratory technique known as specific methylation PCR, which only requires epigenetic modification analysis of 12 gene regions, not about 500,000 initial regions. This technique was validated in this study on 165 brain tumors of patients with primary brain tumors or brain metastases.