Research Centres of Excellence
We are striving to build a network of seven dedicated research centres
Scientists at our dedicated UK Research Centres are working tirelessly to gain a deeper understanding of brain tumours to get closer to a cure
We establish partnerships at key UK universities and create Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence. We are investing in long-term research, building the ‘critical mass’ of expertise needed to accelerate the journey to find a cure. As the teams’ research progresses, they attract increased research investment from other sources and allowing game-changing collaborations take shape.
We are working to:
- Understand the origins of brain tumours in order to create personalised treatments for each patient
- Starve cancer cells of the energy they need to grow and expand
- Repurpose existing drugs in order to increase options for targeting brain tumours in children and adults
- Identify mutations in low-grade brain tumours that dangerously accelerate tumour growth in children and adults
- Find ways of delivering drugs across the blood-brain barrier to improve treatments
For more details on this and all the research areas we are focusing on, please visit our Centres pages below.
Together we will find a cure.
University of PortsmouthOur first Brain Tumour Research Centre was established at the University of Portsmouth in 2010 under the leadership of Professor Geoff Pilkington, now a retired Professor Emeritus.
The next generation of scientists are now building on these impressive foundations, taking some of their discoveries forwards into clinical trials whilst continuing to deepen their understanding of tumour metabolism and broaden their research to include the most promising potential treatments that they have identified. This includes both new and repurposed drug formulations that can be tested on the ground-breaking models of the blood brain barrier that have been developed here.
University of Plymouth
Professor Oliver Hanemann leads multiple teams at the UK’s leading specialist research centre for low-grade brain tumours. Whilst low-grade brain tumours are usually slow-growing, some can start to grow more rapidly, transforming into high-grade or malignant brain tumours. All low-grade tumours, despite sometimes being called benign, can cause long-term and life-changing challenges for patients. By understanding the mechanisms in the development of low-grade brain tumours, the researchers can explore ways to halt or slow their growth.
The Plymouth Centre has developed a ‘fast-track’ process for screening new potentially therapeutic drugs using human brain tumour cell cultures. They have also developed an innovative blood test that can potentially be used to diagnose and monitor meningioma brain tumours, the most prevalent of all brain tumours, in future avoiding the need for repeated biopsies and scans.Read more
Queen Mary University of LondonProfessor Silvia Marino and her team, in collaboration with University College London, are studying glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumours, the most aggressive and most common primary high-grade tumour diagnosed in adults.
The team are aiming to establish the difference between tumour stem cells, which help drive uncontrolled tumour growth, and normal brain stem cells, which stop dividing once they naturally evolve into specialised brain cells. With this knowledge, the team can identify new and/or existing drugs that can halt or slow down the rapid spread of this invasive type of brain tumour whilst also potentially reducing the side effects of existing chemotherapy treatments.
Imperial CollegeOur partnership with Imperial College encompasses both surgical and research teams across two West London locations – Charing Cross Hospital and Hammersmith Hospital. The team at Charing Cross is led by leading neurosurgeon, Mr Kevin O’Neill. Under his leadership, his team is exploring ways to develop new tools, techniques and procedures in order to continually improve and optimise the complex science of neurosurgery.
The collaborative research team based at Hammersmith is led by Dr Nelofer Syed. Under her direction, they are scrutinising many aspects of brain tumour biology. They are studying how tumour cells get their energy, how existing drugs can be made more effective, how artificial intelligence can help provide greater insights into personalised treatments, and how therapeutic strategies around nutrition, including ketogenic diet, may enhance treatments.