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

Progress in Plymouth and NIHR funding support

Treatments:

Step taken towards non-surgical treatment for schwannomas. The team at the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Plymouth demonstrated that two drugs, VT1 and VT2 (examples TEAD palmitoylation inhibitors), not only inhibited the growth of NF2-related vestibular schwannomas (also known as acoustic neuroma), but also shrank them. The paper, published in Brain, used both genetic ablation of the Hippo effectors YAP and TAZ as well as novel TEAD palmitoylation inhibitors, and showed that Hippo signalling may be successfully targeted in vitro and in vivo to both block and, remarkably, regress schwannoma tumour growth. In particular, they detailed that successful use of TEAD palmitoylation inhibitors in a pre-clinical mouse model of schwannoma points to their potential future clinical use.

New research lays the foundation for more effectively treating paediatric brain tumour published in Neuron. The research team found that medulloblastoma tumour cells depend on the ion channel 'Piezo2,' a protein that plays an important role in cellular signalling, to help form the blood-tumour barrier. By genetically silencing Piezo2 in mice, medulloblastoma tumour cells were unable to form the blood-tumour barrier. Without this barrier, etoposide, a common chemotherapy medication, was better able to cross the blood-tumour barrier and treat the medulloblastoma tumour cells. In addition to improving the delivery of chemotherapy, the researchers also found that medulloblastoma tumour cells are significantly more sensitive to etoposide after silencing Piezo2.

Alliance A071401: Phase II Trial of Focal Adhesion Kinase Inhibition in Meningiomas With Somatic NF2 Mutations The report, published in Journal of Clinical Oncology, aimed to evaluate the efficacy of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibition in meningiomas. They demonstrated that FAK inhibition with GSK226098 resulted in an improved 6-month progression-free survival compared with historical controls in patients with meningiomas harbouring somatic alterations in NF2.  It was well tolerated with no grade 4 or 5 effects. They concluded FAK inhibition is worthy of further exploration for patients with recurrent or progressive meningiomas.

 Research:

Making glioblastoma more vulnerable to treatment, published in Cancers (Basel). In this paper they reported that GBM patients express a high level of SAMHD1 which can potentially be exploited. As part of their investigations they depleted SAMHD1 using virus-like particles containing Vpx, VLP(+Vpx), which resulted in GBM cell lines becoming sensitised to veliparib, with the degree of slowed cell growth dependent on dose. They concluded that SAMHD1 promotes GBM resistance to treatment, and it is a plausible therapeutic target to improve the efficacy of temozolomide and irradiation in GBM.

Opportunities:

Interactive webinar aimed to inform investigators on how to apply for NIHR HTA funding and to help share best practices on submitting high quality applications to improve your chances of securing funding. NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Interactive webinar: 17th November 16:00-17:00 via zoom.

Queen Square Future of Neurosurgery Lecture Series  

Title: The future of clinical trials in neurosurgery, with Michael Jenkinson, Professor of Neurosurgery (University of Liverpool). 

Location: Zoom (register here)

Date: Wednesday 23 November 2022, 7pm GMT.

UCL Brain Cancer Seminar Series in collaboration with the University of Toronto

The session will take the form of two presentations.  

  1. Imaging infiltrating cells in the tumour margin using MTE-NODDI in a mouse model of glioblastoma, with Saketh Karamched, Research Associate in Cancer Biology at UCL Cancer Institute/UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging.
  2. Focused Ultrasound in Neuro-Oncology: Early Experience in Human Trials, with Nir Lipsman, Program Director, Division of Neurosurgery, Associate Professor, University of Toronto & Scientist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Location: Zoom (register here)

Date: Wednesday 7th December 2022, 12-1pm.

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