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

The benefit of Adjuvant chemotherapy, injectable microscopic robots, laser ablation to open the blood brain barrier and industry targets Boris

A new clinical trial (NRG Oncology clinical trial NRG-RTOG 9802) has demonstrated, for the first time, a survival benefit of adjuvant (applied after initial treatment for cancer, especially to suppress secondary tumour formation) chemotherapy following radiotherapy over radiotherapy alone in certain subgroups of patients with high-risk, low-grade glioma. The analysis seems to show that patients with IDH-mutant high risk LGG, regardless of codeletion status, receive benefit from the addition of PCV (a combination of the chemotherapy drugs procarbazine, lomustine (CCNU) and vincristine used to treat brain tumours).

The Wnt pathway has historically been considered cancer-promoting but according to research it may function as a tumour suppressor in certain contexts. Researchers have  discovered a method to activate the Wnt pathway in non-Wnt subtypes of medulloblastoma making these aggressive forms of the disease more susceptible to treatment and they felt confident enough to title the resulting paper “Wnt activation as a therapeutic strategy in medulloblastoma.”

Truly fascinating stuff reported widely in the national press here as injectable microscopic robots promise 'dream' breakthrough in surgery. Microscopic robots, which could be injected into the brain to smother a tumour, are a step closer after researchers created the first moving microchips. Cornell University proved it was possible to attach legs or swimming arms to tiny computer chips (smaller than the width of a human hair) which can then be programmed to walk to a pre-set location. This could allow surgeons of the future to access difficult tumours without damaging nearby tissue.

A study has shown that laser therapy can open the blood-brain barrier. Findings suggest that this laser ablation – often used to treat cancer in other parts of the body – may overcome this major obstacle to delivering anti-cancer drugs and other therapies directly to the brain.

Radiation oncologist Dr. Christina Tsien is a cancer survivor. In this informative blog she discusses the advances in radiation therapy that are improving brain and spine tumour patient outcomes and how her personal experience has impacted on the care she provides.  

Whilst not strictly a research news item If you have read this far then I am sure you’d be interested to know that the pharmaceutical industry has urged the  Prime Minister to protect charity research.

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