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

Big Data and medulloblastoma differences

Research:

City of Hope researchers develop new brain cancer therapy. Researchers have developed a new approach to attract immune cells to glioblastoma tumours which are known to be “cold” tumours due to their lack of helpful immune cells. The study, published in Nature Cancer, used an oncolytic herpes simplex virus - a virus genetically engineered to kill cancer – in mouse models to kill cancer cells and release chemokines in order to stimulate the migration of immune cells to the tumour microenvironment, making the GBM tumour ‘hot’.  The therapy more than doubled the survival time in half the mice that received the treatment. 

Single-cell foetal brain profiling uncovers potential ways to treat paediatric tumours A multinational team of scientists, out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, have used single-cell profiling of freshly isolated human foetal tissue to reveal a reference map of the cell states of the most common malignant childhood brain cancer, medulloblastoma. The map is of the hierarchical cellular states in medulloblastoma, which details the changes that are seen during growth, down to the single-cell level. New ways to treat medulloblastomas could emerge from the work, published in Nature.

AI enables large-scale brain tumour study, without sharing patient data The study from Penn Medicine and Intel Corporation, published in  Nature Communications, used aggregated brain scan data from 6,314 glioblastoma patients at 71 sites around the globe in a study that was designed to demonstrate the use of machine learning approach called Federated Learning. Using the data they were able to enhance identification and prediction of glioblastoma sub-compartment boundaries, a finding which is of a particular relevance for neurosurgical and radiotherapy planning in patients with this disease.

What does a diffuse midline glioma look like? Researchers discovered that the spatial organisation of cells could help explain why diffuse midline gliomas (DMG) are so difficult to treat. They focused their efforts on DMG with a Histone3-K27M mutation and found differences between the cellular makeup of children and adults with the disease. Paediatric cases in the brainstem and spinal cord contained more immature cells, whilst adults tended to have more mesenchymal-like cells. They also noted that cancer stem cells had formed ‘niches’ by clumping together and surrounding themselves with a type of cell that can shield and protect the tumour. Published in Nature Genetics.

Brain cancer after radiation exposure from CT examinations of children and young adults: results from the EPI-CT cohort study The European EPI-CT study aims to quantify cancer risks from CT examinations of children and young adults. In this study they assessed the risk of brain cancer. They found a significant dose-response relationship between CT-related radiation exposure and brain cancer in this large, multicentre study with individual dose evaluation. They emphasise careful justification of paediatric CTs and use of doses as low as reasonably possible.

Reviews:

Exploring the Evolution and Vulnerabilities of Brain Cancer Cells Published in Trends in Cancer, this review summarises the known tumourigenic, neurodevelopmental and brain-injury boundaries of glioblastoma (GBM) plasticity, and proposes that for effective treatment of GBM the addition of therapeutics that restrain GBM plasticity are required.

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