National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year
Oligodendroglioma, blood tests, trials and surveys
I don’t know if this is the shape of things to come, and that is a very pessimistic thought, but in terms of research news for the update this has been the most barren week that I can remember. We know the lockdown provided researchers with enforced time away from their labs and that the good side of this was an opportunity for heads to get down (in a focused not depressing way!) and for papers to be completed. We know also that our researchers, where able, are heading back to labs but of course, we hope against hope that the momentum for progress has not been lost.
First up this week a chance to read about the US-based National Brain Tumor Society and the research they fund into Oligodendroglioma. From 2013 to today, NBTS has funded a total of $2 million in grants to 11 researchers across nine different institutions, all focused on oligodendroglioma and related low-grade glioma research. Detailing this seven-year time span the report covers exciting next steps to drive research forward aimed at novel treatments and ultimately, cures.
Genetic mutations that promote the growth of the most common type of adult brain tumours can be accurately detected and monitored in blood samples using an enhanced form of liquid biopsy developed by researchers. Historically liquid biopsy is particularly challenging in brain tumours because mutant DNA is shed into the bloodstream at a much lower level than any other types of tumours. However this easy to use, quick, low-cost test can follow the course of the disease and has shown for the first time that the most prevalent mutation in malignant gliomas can be detected in the blood. Next steps are to expand this blood test to be able to differentiate many types of brain tumours.
In the US and despite the difficulties posed by the current public health crisis, there are many clinical trials that are still actively enrolling brain tumour patients. More details of the situation in the US again from our friends at the National Brain Tumor Society; https://blog.braintumor.org/nbts-brain-tumor-clinical-trials-report-q3-2020/?src=readmore&id=5550
Although not scientific research surveys have a part to play in understanding the pathway and impact of disease and their conclusions can directly influence where the money is spent and scientific enquiry is focused. This week we have space to bring details of three current surveys.
- The Children’s Cancer Priority Setting Partnership Survey is looking for questions to help guide research about children’s cancer.
- The British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) and the James Lind Alliance (JLA) have come together to organise a survey that involves everyone with an interest in Childhood Neurological Conditions.
- The study is sponsored by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and we are also working with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and is inviting survivors (those diagnosed aged 0-18 years; currently aged 16-24 years; 2 or more years from the end of treatment), parents and health care professionals to work with them to develop ways to encourage, motivate and support childhood cancer and brain tumour survivors to be physically active.
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