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They gave her a year to live, after two years she is healthy. Precision medicine from Brno helped

/VIDEO/ Abdominal pain, visit to the general practitioner, examination and overwhelming findings. This is the story of 61-year-old Jana Králíková, who two years ago was diagnosed with a large pancreatic tumor with metastases. Treated patients with such a disease usually survive for a year. Thanks to tailored treatment, Jana Králíková’s tumor began to shrink until it completely disappeared. Doctors at the Brno University Hospital will start to deal even more with so-called precision medicine.

Doctors at the Brno University Hospital will start to deal even more with so-called precision medicine. They opened its first center in Brno.

| Video: Diary/Magdaléna Blažková

Jana Králíková began to feel the first problems in the spring of 2020. After a series of examinations that revealed a metastasizing tumor of the pancreas, chemotherapy followed. This was first started by doctors on the basis of standard recommendations. “Meanwhile, the doctor sent me for a genetic examination and it was discovered that I am a carrier of the BRCA2 gene. Thanks to this finding, another chemotherapy treatment, designed for my type of disease, followed, and the tumor has already started to shrink,” the woman described.

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The metastases disappeared, the pain subsided and the test results improved. This was followed by biological treatment with tablets, and subsequently the doctors irradiated the tumor. “On the last CT scan, we saw a problematic condition where the tumor had also penetrated into the vascular structures. The operation lasted seven hours, but it turned out that it was not a tumor, but just a scar. The tumor cells have completely disappeared. When I asked my colleagues across workplaces in the country, they had never seen it before,” said clinical oncologist Michal Eid about the patient’s treatment.

At the beginning, the most common prognosis for such patients is four months of survival without treatment, and one year with treatment. At the moment, according to the oncologist, Králíková’s prognosis is excellent. “When I first came to the department, I wondered how much life I had ahead of me. Finally, it’s been two years, I’m here and I’m healthy. Everything has to start with the patient, so people don’t give up,” appealed Králíková.

For patients with a serious diagnosis, where there is not a wide arsenal of weapons with which doctors can fight the disease, doctors at the Brno University Hospital test the tumor tissue at the very beginning. Genetic testing takes about three weeks. After receiving the results, doctors can tailor the treatment to the specific patient. “It is no longer enough for us to know where the tumor is and what it is called. Today, we have to name the tumor in detail in order to know how to treat it correctly. We have a hundred cases of pancreatic tumors, and it’s a hundred different diseases,” Eid explained.

Personalized medicine, tailored to the patient, is nothing new in healthcare. Its higher level is precision medicine, which is based on the molecular description of the disease in each individual patient. This is currently used at the Brno University Hospital mainly for pediatric and adult oncology, in the field of rare and ultra-rare diseases and for patients without a clear diagnosis.

Since May, the hospital has been the first in the Czech Republic to open a Precision Medicine Center. “In addition to the normal indicators, we add the most modern molecular biological indicators, for which we need modern genomic technologies,” said Ondřej Slabý, head of the Precision Medicine Center of the Brno University Hospital.

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The center functions as an interdisciplinary workplace that brings together experts from various fields of precision medicine. “University Hospital Brno has always been a pioneer across various areas of precision medicine. Now Brno is becoming the capital of precision medicine in our country, and we will secure an important place in this direction also within the European Union,” added Slabý.

Thanks to the creation of the center, precision medicine across the departments of the Brno University Hospital will be faster, simpler and will support the transfer of experience between individual experts. All areas of precision medicine require expertise in genomic testing. “Technological and personnel background is absolutely necessary and we at the center want to maintain the most modern form and continuous development of precision medicine in individual areas. It is also important to inform patients and create extra-curricular projects,” said the director of the Brno University Hospital, Ivo Rovný.

Source: Diary/Magdaléna Blažková

For some patients suffering from rare diseases, participating in clinical trials, for example, can be a key treatment option. The precision medicine center at the Brno hospital will also contribute to more detailed mapping and the subsequent recommendation of appropriate treatment, which in some cases is only available abroad.

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