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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year

Patients' stem cells could be a promising drug delivery tool for paediatric brain tumours

According to a new study carried out by scientists from the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, laboratory research shows that stem cells can effectively deliver drugs to a medulloblastoma tumour site – the most common paediatric brain tumour.

Usually, paediatric medulloblastoma patients receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which can be damaging for the developing brain and impact on a child’s quality of life. The outcome of the study could be important as it would reduce the intensity of treatment and decrease the effect it has on medulloblastoma patients.

The researchers reported how stem cells, developed from skin cells, can locate and deliver drugs to fight medulloblastoma cells hiding in the brain after surgery.

The study is at its early stages and still needs to go through clinical trials. However, the possibility of using a patient’s own tissue to destroy tumour cells is promising as it could potentially be used on other rare and difficult to treat brain tumours.

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