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Research News

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

Targeting the ‘don’t eat me signal’ and the vascular differences in grade 4 gliomas


Targeting the "don't eat me" signal may improve immunotherapy for glioblastoma. Researchers have used patient data, experiments with mice, and samples from human tumours to study the ‘don’t eat me’ signals that glioblastoma cells send to macrophages (white blood cells specialised in removing dead and dying cellular matter) in the brain. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, demonstrated that the ‘don’t eat me’ signal is based on sugar molecules called sialic acid glycans (Siglec-9) on the surface of cancer cells. They reported that patients whose macrophages have especially high numbers of Siglec-9 receivers have a lower survival rate. Their findings may pave the way for effective immunotherapies for glioblastomas. 

Vascular differences between IDH-wildtype glioblastoma and astrocytoma IDH-mutant grade 4 at imaging and transcriptomic levels. In this study, published in NMR in Biomedicine, researchers have validated the association between IDH mutation and tumour vascularity measured by contrast-MRI (DSC-MRI). Astrocytomas of IDH-mutant grade 4 present lower relative cerebral blood volume and relative cerebral blood flow, and longer survival times than IDH-wildtype glioblastoma, which can be partly explained by slower tumour progression resulting from lower vascularity. 

This constitutes the first study to analyse vascular differences at both MRI and transcriptomic level between IDH-wildtype glioblastoma and IDH-mutant astrocytoma grade 4.   

Integrated molecular analysis reveals hypermethylation and overexpression of HOX genes to be poor prognosticators in IDH mutant glioma. Diffuse gliomas represent over 80% of malignant brain tumours ranging from low-grade to aggressive high-grade lesions. Within IDH-mutant gliomas there is a high variability in survival and a need to more accurately predict outcome. 

This study, published in Neuro-Oncology, used integrated molecular analysis to demonstrate that HOX gene methylation and expression provide important prognostic information for IDH-mutant gliomas that are not captured by current molecular diagnostics.  


BRAF plus MEK inhibition effective in papillary craniopharyngioma. Patients with papillary craniopharyngioma have good long-term survival, however, the tumours can compress critical brain structures causing headaches, peripheral vision loss, endocrine disorders and other neurological impairments. Surgery and/or radiotherapy can provide disease control but have a high risk of neurological damage.  Data from a recent phase 2 trial has demonstrated the feasibility of BRAF plus MEK inhibition in patients with papillary craniopharyngiomas harbouring BRAF V600E mutations, which are present in approximately 90% of cases. 


British Neuro-Oncology Society Council Vacancies - BNOS is seeking two Council representatives and is keen to hear from individuals who would like to be considered for the following voluntary posts:  

  • Neuro-oncology nurse representative
  • Junior clinical representative. 

Submit an expression of interest of up to a maximum of one page outlining which post you would like to be considered for, and how you believe you will contribute to Council and to BNOS. Send applications to by midnight on Sunday 20th August. Find out more about BNOS here

The NIHR is looking for more brain tumour specialists to be on their funding committees. There is an application round open now for Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR) and Programme Development Grants (PDG) sub-committee membership. You can find more information here. The closing date is 15th September 2023. Most committee and funding opportunities are promoted through the NIHR community Twitter page. 

Vestibular Schwannoma: Multidisciplinary Management and patient experience – Live Webinar. 17.30-18.30pm: Wednesday 2nd August. 

Overview of Vestibular Schwannomas management and diagnostic with an introduction to Gamma Knife Radiological techniques, planning and application. Two CPD credits. 

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