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

Ultra sound implants, incidence following abscess and NOA

Tumour treating fields (TTFs), which use alternating electric fields to interrupt cancer cells’ ability to divide, provide a potential new treatment option for brain tumours. For glioblastoma patients, TTFs are delivered following surgical resection and completion of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Patients with shaved heads wear a cap-like device containing transducer arrays that deliver the TTFs to the brain for a recommended 18 hours a day, for a prescribed number of days. The cap is used with an electric field generator, a power source and a connection cable. Researchers in China’s Guangdong Province have now developed an alternative: an implantable ultrasound-powered tumour treating device (UP-TTD). The chip-sized wireless TTF system could be of huge benefit, making the treatment easier for patients to undergo, and potentially also reducing costs.

A follow up of over 1000 patients treated for a cerebral abscess revealed that the incidence of cancer was doubled during the first 10 years after diagnosis in comparison with a control group matched for age, sex, and place of residence. There was no one type of cancer that predominated as there were roughly similar frequencies of occurrence for neoplasms of the brain and eye, metastatic cancer, respiratory tract cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer.

A study, by a global team including University of Leeds experts, has found that in response to treatment, high-grade gliomas appear to remodel the surrounding brain environment, potentially creating interactions with nearby neurons and immune cells in ways that protect the tumour cells and hide them from the body’s defences. The team also found that lower grade tumours often develop a new mutation that allows the cells to start dividing more rapidly, potentially catapulting them into a higher-grade form. They collected multiple samples of gliomas over time, as they transitioned from low-to-high grade, and before and after treatment. They then looked at how the cells changed and adapted to see if they can find ways to stop them, using novel drugs.

The research findings have been published in Cell.

In June 2020 we were pleased to report on a paper from our Queen Mary University of London Research Centre that had been published in The EMBO journal. The paper describes how reactions in the microglia triggered by glioblastoma hinders effective T‐cell infiltration, proliferation and immune reactivity, thereby contributing to tumour immune evasion and promoting tumour growth. Professor Silvia Marino, the report lead author, said this shift of focus from the tumour to its microenvironment, and the possibilities it could offer, is "realistically exciting".

The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) is inviting investigators who have ideas or proposals for cancer studies to submit their proposals for open discussion and peer input at the upcoming virtual Proposal Guidance Meetings, running from 31st October – 14th November 2022.

The aim of these meetings is to provide guidance for the development of cancer studies, prior to submission to NCRI Partners’ competitive funding streams, for feedback from a specially selected review panel. They would welcome proposals at any stage of development. There will be opportunities for investigators to present and discuss their concepts with experts at the meeting. The discussion panel will be drawn from the NCRI Network, including NCRI Consumer Forum members, and invited experts in the field to ensure breadth of input.

The NCRI Brain Group is among those inviting proposal submissions. The deadline for submitting proposals is noon on 14th September and the date of the brain virtual Proposal Guidance meeting is the afternoon of Friday 4th November.

You must be signed up to the  NCRI Networks by completing this sign-up form in order to submit a proposal for review.

Please contact the NCRI at if you have any queries or require further information.

Kings College London are looking for an enthusiastic Research Assistant to work on a pre-clinical project related to ultrasound-mediated paediatric brain tumour treatment using drug-loaded thermosensitive liposomes. The successful candidate will have a good understanding of cell culture and animal husbandry. The post involves cell culture of fluorescent diffuse midline glioma (DMG) cell lines, brain tumour inoculation, monitoring of tumour growth using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF)/luminescence imaging, and animal husbandry (mice). The research assistant will also be responsible for post-mortem tissue processing, sectioning, histology, and microscopy imaging. Finally, they will work on the development of the MHRA application for clinical translation of the study’s findings. The deadline for applying is 5th September.

Here is a chance to browse the latest papers up for inclusion in this year’s Neuro-Oncology Advances Journal. “Neuro-Oncology Advances (NOA) is an open access inter-disciplinary journal encompassing basic, applied, and clinical investigations in all research areas as they relate to cancer and the central nervous system. It provides a single forum for communication among neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiotherapists, medical oncologists, neuropathologists, neuroradiologists, and researchers.”

“NOA aims to publish research from all disciplines that are interested in advancing outcomes of brain, spine and peripheral nerve tumours.”

Finally, this week a broader neuroscience piece explores how brain stimulation boosts memory for a month.

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