Plasma extracellular vesicles (EVs): the key for precision medicine in Glioblastoma

In this project FRRB finances the Coordinator: Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta (FINCB). The Principal Investigator responsible of the project is Dr. Francesco Di Meco.


FRRB also finances partner number 1: Istituto Europeo di Oncologia - IEO. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Giuliana Pelicci.

Pathology of interest: Glioblastoma
Area of research: Oncology
Start date:  1st April 2021
End date:  31st March 2024
Funding: € 500.000,00
Project partners:   - Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta (FINCB)
  - Istituto Europeo di Oncologia (IEO)
  - Tel Aviv University (TAU) 
  - Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary (SU) 
  - CIC bioGUNE (Asociacion Centro de Investigación Cooperativa en Biociencias) 
  - Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Navarra (IDISNA), Clinica Universidad de Navarra



Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and lethal primitive brain tumour.  

Treatment is standardized and insufficient since relapse and death are certain. 

The only way to diagnose and characterize GBM relies on imaging and surgery which are limited by specificity, sensitivity, and surgical risks.

In addition, GBM inter and intra-tumoral heterogeneity, molecular dynamism and blood brain barrier shield hinder patient-tailored therapies.  

The effort to revolutionize the treatment should begin from the implementation of a reliable liquid biopsy thus allowing to consistently and non-invasively assess tumour status/molecular setup and monitor its changes. 

GBMs shed numerous extracellular vesicles (EVs)which can be exploited as biomarker and liquid biopsy medium. The relative short time from diagnosis to death offers a useful context for the examination of personalized medicine (PM) as a holistic approach to medical care.


  - To validate plasma-EVs as diagnostic-prognostic biomarker and as a liquid biopsy tool.  

This will allow to: 

  - make early diagnosis (non-invasively).  
  - follow treatment response (non-invasively and consistently). 
  - stratify patients by tumour behaviour.
  - characterize GBM molecular traits (focusing on the action able targets).
  - monitor GBM molecular changes. 

The final aim is to tailor the therapeutic approach for every timepoint of the disease course, repurposing drugs and selecting the appropriate treatment at the right moment for the right patient.

  - To holistically study   GBM   course   from   diagnosis   to   death, focusing on plasma-EVs and implementing the principles and visions of PM.
  - To develop ethical and legal insights and instruments as to allow personalization of care.


  - Assessment of clinical significance of plasma-EVs concentration.

  - Molecular characterization of over-time collected EVs and parental GBMs.

  - Development of ethical-legal and sex-gender instruments to allow genuine participation of GBM patients in PM.