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National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £30-35 million a year

CRUK funded researcher joins our Imperial team

For the first time Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has set up funding opportunities for clinicians to pause their medical studies and undertake a period of research and, after a competitive submission process, we are very pleased to announce that Jake Symington has secured one of these Intercalated PhD (iPhD) Awards. Jake has now begun a three-year period working with Dr Nel Syed at our Imperial Research Centre to examine the effect of Arginine Deprivation on Cell Metabolism and Tumour Microenvironment in Glioblastoma.

Dr Syed said: “Without the seed funding from Brain Tumour Research and their member charity Brain Tumour Research Campaign, the opportunity to bring Jake into the team just wouldn’t have happened because the team would not exist. This building of capacity is so vital. The attraction and retention of the bright young minds into the uniquely complex world of brain tumour research is the pathway to innovation and progress to the improvement in patient options and outcomes we so desperately crave.”

The work in arginine depletion that Dr Syed leads involves the study of the nutrients used in brain tumour metabolism and has identified that arginine (an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein) is used differently by brain cancer cells, and cells in the tumour microenvironment, compared to healthy brain cells. By manipulating the relevant metabolic pathways, arginine levels could be used to influence tumour growth and a paper has recently been submitted on the team’s results so far.

Mr Symington told us that he is hugely enthusiastic about this opportunity and feels both fascinated by the subject and excited by the prospect of helping to make a difference for those diagnosed with a brain tumour.

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