Although current classification of cancer is largely based on the morphology of tumour cells, currently used cancer imaging diagnostics are based on visualization of the size and shape of the tumour and a limited set of biomarkers. The identification of more cancer-specific biomarkers for tumours and bodily fluids and the enhancement of visualization will improve the characterization and treatment of cancer.

The GUTS research programme studies cancer-specific, dynamic, cell biological changes in tumours and bodily fluids to improve the visualization, detection, classification, characterization, and treatment of cancer.

The GUTS research combines current and novel state-of-the-art imaging and omics modalities. The research focuses on:

  • Acknowledging and tackling tumour heterogeneity;
  • Cancer-specific, cell biological changes to identify unique targets for innovative guided therapy;
  • Improved selection of cancer patients and advancements in early identification of treatment efficacy to allow adaptation of treatment to changing tumour characteristics.
Relevance

Optimizing personalized therapeutic strategies

The study of cancer-specific, dynamic, cell biological changes in tumours and bodily fluids is aimed at improving cancer diagnosis and treatment outcome based on an optimized selection of cancer patients and the use of personalized therapeutic strategies.

The GUTS research results were used to improve the detection and diagnosis of different types of cancer and to further develop and clinically evaluate cancer treatment for various tumour types.

In addition, the research results were used to establish a data warehouse with clinical, omics and imaging data of treated cancer patients, based on which deep learning and other artificial intelligence approaches can be developed.

The results contributed to improved personalized treatment strategies for our patients, with the fewest possible immediate and late side-effects diminishing quality of life and jeopardizing cancer survivorship. 

  • The Department of Medical Oncology at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) hosts a website that provides information about different tumour types, care-related information, the Department’s standard policy and associated administration schedules, and information about various other topics. In addition, the website provides an overview of ongoing studies for each tumour type that patients may be eligible for.