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

Weekly pick of brain tumour research news from around the world

Using genetically engineered human pluripotent stem cells, ( pluripotent meaning ‘which give rise to all of the cell types that make up the body’) University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers have created a new type of cancer model to study in vivo how glioblastoma develops and changes over time. Evidently these models, or avatars, enable the study of human tumour development over long periods in vivo (tested on whole, living organisms or cells), which has not been feasible with patient-derived tissue samples which already harbour other genetic changes.

The growth of a brain tumour can be affected by the activity of its neighbouring neurons and this study reveals that brain tumours manipulate neighbouring synapses sending signals that boost connections between these neurons leading to a pathway that drives cancer growth.

Raman imaging plus AI classifies brain cancers during surgery – Researchers in the US have combined artificial intelligence (AI) with an advanced laser-based imaging technique to create a system that can identify different types of brain cancer from surgical samples with a similar accuracy to pathologists, but much, much faster. The test could enable surgeons to bypass the pathology lab and receive real-time diagnostic information during operations.

Revolutionary brain cancer treatment becomes available in Israel – Tumour treating fields are seen as a real treatment option for newly diagnosed and recurrent GBM in the US and other parts of the world – it is currently considered too expensive to be available to anyone other than private patients in the UK.

Researchers develop new strategy to study childhood brain tumours – Researchers are at work to find effective treatments to help young patients with brain tumours. Hundreds of brain organoids have been developed in the laboratories of the University of Trento to understand the genetic mechanisms responsible for these diseases. The organoids were used to create in vitro (test-tube experiments) tumour models. The results achieved will make it possible to advance brain cancer research, as in the near future the large-scale production of in vitro tumours could provide a low-cost method for the screening of new drugs compared with previous technologies.

Gamma tiles help prevent recurrence of malignant brain tumours after surgery – After a tumour is removed, a gamma tile (about the size of a stamp) is left in place to attack any newly growing cells within its vicinity. Since tumours grow significantly faster than healthy tissue, this works mostly to impede diseased cells from proliferating. Moreover, this allows surgeons to be very precise as to where they place the radiation source.

Beaumont researcher awarded $1.6 million NIH grant to study deadly brain tumours – The goal of this research is to identify what nutrients glioblastoma cells need to live, understand why they utilise these nutrients and determine if these metabolic pathways can be disrupted. This understanding is the route to new treatments.


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