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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

Pioneered at Duke Cancer Institute in the US as a therapy for GBM, a modified form of poliovirus, appears in laboratory studies to also have applicability for paediatric brain tumours when used as part of a cancer vaccine. In preclinical studies using mice and human cancer cells, an injection of the modified poliovirus vector instigated an immune response that homed in on mutated cancer cells that predominate in diffuse midline glioma (DMG) tumours, a cancer that strikes children and is universally deadly. Scientists are hopeful that this approach could be tested as a potential therapy for these tumours.

Amazing news from China as researchers have developed robotic worms that can move through blood vessels to reach patients’ brains and directly destroy  tumours, avoiding the serious side effects of conventional treatments.

From the British press comes news that cancer treatment with new drugs is lagging in Britain because NHS watchdogs take too long to approve them

Enrolment is open, and there is UK recruitment, for a clinical trial for patients with recurrent anaplastic astrocytoma

Incorporating genetic and cellular analysis of tumours with how they appear in medical images could help improve brain cancer treatment, by showing that cells inside, and surrounding, a tumour play a major role in cancer development. The hope here is that we can gain a more holistic understanding of why certain tumour types progress more rapidly, and others are more slow-growing, and ultimately which drugs a patient may respond to.

Neurosurgeons and neuroscientists are looking at a new way to classify pituitary tumours that could lead to more precise and accurate diagnosing for patients. Pituitary tumours, also called adenomas, are noncancerous growths on the pituitary gland. Although these pituitary tumours are benign in nature, they can pose a major health challenge. The new tests being investigated at Houston Methodist not only have the potential to lead to better diagnoses for patients with pituitary adenomas, but also for many other types of brain tumours .

Although radical surgery is not always seen as a possibility for brain tumour patients because of the need to retain all healthy tissue it has been found that survival may more than double for adults with GBM if neurosurgeons remove the surrounding tissue as aggressively as they remove the cancerous core of the tumour. However the researchers caution that maximal resection should only be achieved when it can be safely performed using techniques such as intraoperative brain mapping. This means that areas of the brain responsible for speech, motor, sensory and cognition are tested during surgery to ensure that these functional areas are preserved.

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