National conference brings hope for the future
The Brain Tumour Charity team recently attended BNOS, the annual conference of the British Neuro-oncology Society. This year’s conference entitled ‘Challenges and Controversies’ was held in Manchester and saw a range of world-class brain tumour research presented, including work funded by The Brain Tumour Charity.
Dr Steven Pollard presenting his work on reprogramming brain tumour cells
Reprogramming brain tumour cells
Dr Steven Pollard of UCL’s Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit presented his exciting work examining the factors which drive normal and brain tumour cells to divide, rest or die. Dr Pollard demonstrated how tumour cells might be ‘re-programmed’ so that they revert to being normal brain cells – and that a brain tumour cell could even be made to grow into a hair follicle if provided with the right conditions!
Clinical trials for new treatments
Dr Colin Watts explained the NCRI Brain CSG’s work to increase the number of clinical trials for new treatments made available to brain tumour patients in the UK. Dr Watts is Chair of the Brain Tumour Clinical Studies Group of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) and also leads the GALA-5 clinical neurosurgical trial (see ‘Glow in the dark brains’). At present just 1.6% of brain tumour patients are enrolled onto randomised controlled clinical trials for new treatments. However, in an interview with SDBTT, Dr Watts noted that the SDBTT-funded Clinical Trials Project Officer role has “proven extremely useful, because we see year on year inc1reases in [patient] recruitment [to brain tumour clinical trials in the UK], although there is obviously still a long way to go”.
Dr Colin Watts reports on clinical trials for new treatments
Tumour-killing viruses and proton therapy
Other talks ranged from advances in proton therapy to genetically engineered viruses that can kill brain tumour cells, to imaging techniques that can accurately quantify tumour volume and guide neurosurgeons during an operation. The Neuro-oncology nursing Forum, meanwhile, looked at the important issue of rehabilitation following survival of a brain tumour and psychological problems in cancer care.
Recognising the best
The prize for best medical presentation was given to GALA-5 co-investigator Mr Stephen Price for his research into the behaviour of glioblastoma and oligodendroglioma brain tumours.
BNOS Honorary Membership was awarded to brain tumour researcher Professor Roy Rampling, our esteemed Scientific and Medical Advisor to the Trustees. Professor Rampling (of Glasgow University) was sorry to be unable to attend in person (particularly as an avid supporter of the host city’s Manchester United football club!), but sent his sincere thanks, and former BNOS President Professor Charles Davis was pleased to accept the award on his behalf.
Despite the many ‘challenges and controversies’ they encounter, researchers such as those at BNOS are making headway in brain tumour research – but this is only made possible by people like you, our fabulous supporters – thank you!