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Research News

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

Hats, Hedgehogs and Dragons

Research:

Newly identified gene may provide a therapeutic target for deadly glioblastoma multiforme Researchers have identified a gene called P300 which is involved in tumour growth and adaptive resistance of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). The study, published in Nature Communications, determined that P300 HAT (histone acetyltransferase) enables GBM cells that have been damaged by radiation therapy to recover by rearranging DNA, and setting in motion a mechanism that refortifies tumour cells for growth and survival, contributing to recurrence. The authors concluded that further studies need to be undertaken to fully understand and exploit therapeutic opportunities, such as HAT inhibitors.  

Skin and brain cancers: New discovery may help improve treatment  A study, published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, looked at a key signalling pathway in organ development known as the Hedgehog pathway. Errors in this pathway can lead to birth defects or cancers, including some skin tumours and paediatric brain tumours. The researchers focused on the Smoothened Protein and found that it blocked a key enzyme, which in turn promoted the Hedgehog pathway and tumour formation. The researchers are hopeful that understanding this pathway can help forward the development of more targeted cancer treatments.

Nanoprobes spot brain cancer from a blood draw Cancers shed a variety of molecules into the bloodstream, sometimes referred to as biomarkers, long before the tumour is visible on an MRI. This study, published in ACS Nano, used surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (a test that provides a structural fingerprint by which molecules can be identified) to detect these biomarkers in blood serum samples. Their test could differentiate between brain, lung and breast cancer with 100% sensitivity and specificity. The algorithm they used could also determine the location of brain tumours in each of the nine regions of the brain with about 96% accuracy.

Treatments:

Researchers shrink brain tumours with gold nanoparticles Researchers at the University of Toronto are utilising radiolabelled gold nanoparticles to make radiation therapy more effective for glioblastoma multiforme tumours. In animal studies they demonstrated that the use of gold nanoparticles in radiation resulted in tumours that were no longer detectable by MRI four weeks after treatment. Yet to be published, this promising work is moving onto studying radiation nanomedicine combined with immunotherapy.

N-myc mediated translation control is a therapeutic vulnerability in medulloblastoma This study, published in Cancer Research, reveals a previously hidden molecular programme that promotes medulloblastoma formation and identifies new therapies that may have impact in the clinic. In particular, the researchers demonstrated that targeting Hsp70 suppressed tumour growth in mouse and human medulloblastoma models.

Opportunities:

BNOS Dragon’s Den Returns 30th January 2023 – Online

BNOS Research Subcommittee’s Dragons’ Den is returning “to support the transition to research independence of talented early career academic researchers and clinical trainees within UK brain tumour research”. 

Format: The British Neuro-Oncology Society Research Subcommittee will host virtual mock interviews twice per year to support academic and clinical early career researchers to increase competitiveness for fellowship bids.

Feedback to candidates will be distinct from host laboratory/institutional fellowship support and focused on identifying knowledge gaps in neuro-oncology which may form independent research niches

Prospective candidates should submit their application to administrator@bnos.org.uk by 23 January 2023, 5pm.

For more information please view the event flyer.

Related Reading:

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