Adult brain tumour research projects
We fund research into a wide variety of brain tumour types that affect adults.
Research is essential if we are to enhance our understanding of why and how each tumour forms, and what can be done to treat them.
Current high grade brain tumour research projects
Here are the research projects we are currently funding that relate to understanding or treating high grade brain tumours in adults
Dr. Christopher Mount
Engineering cells of the immune system to target the complex mixtures of cells in adult and paediatric gliomas
Dr. Mara De Martino
Shining a light on the role of lipid metabolism as a barrier to successful brain tumour treatment
Dr. Claire Vinel
A first-time characterisation of the communication between glioblastoma and the skeletal muscle
Dr. Ola Rominiyi
Investigating DNA repair on a cell-by-cell basis in glioblastomaDr. Ola Rominiyi at the University of Sheffield is researching DNA repair in glioblastoma on a cellular level to identify treatment vulnerabilities. His work aims to create new treatment strategies with DNA repair inhibitor drugs that are more effective and have fewer side effects.
Dr. Christopher Mount
Engineering cells of the immune system to target the complex mixtures of cells in adult and paediatric gliomasDr. Mount from Harvard Medical School is developing a new approach to treat gliomas by engineering immune cells to specifically identify and destroy multiple types of cells within the tumour.
Dr. Mara De Martino
Shining a light on the role of lipid metabolism as a barrier to successful brain tumour treatmentDr Mara De Martino at Weill Cornell Medicine is investigating the connection between lipid metabolism and immune escape in glioblastoma. Her goal is to identify molecules that promote treatment resistance and develop novel treatments targeting lipid pathways to enhance immunotherapy effectiveness against brain malignancies.
Dr. Claire Vinel
A first-time characterisation of the communication between glioblastoma and the skeletal muscleDr Claire Vinel at Queen Mary University of London is investigating the relationship between glioblastoma and skeletal muscle, with the goal of identifying molecules that promote tumour growth or sarcopenia that could lead to the development of new drugs to improve patient outcomes.
Dr. Angel Alvarez-Prado
Hijacking an innate immune mechanism present in all malignant cellsDr Angel Alvarez-Prado at the University of Lausanne is developing a novel therapeutic approach to treat glioblastoma by inhibiting ADAR1 in combination with TME-targeted immunotherapies, targeting cancer cells and their supporting microenvironment.
Professor Anthony ByrneAccurate and effective research into how brain tumours and their treatments affect someone’s quality of life requires consistent and appropriate measures. Until now there has been no clear guidance on which Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) should be used in clinical trials. This study will define a core outcome set of PROs that encompass the measures most meaningful to people with brain tumours, and those they hold dear.
Dr Pim French
Blocking hypersensitive glioblastoma growthIn this project Dr Pim French and his team are learning new ways to stop the activation of a protein called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). When EGFR is mutated in tumours it can be activated too easily, making glioblastomas grow quickly. By blocking this type of EGFR Dr French wants to slow, or even completely stop, tumour growth.
Dr Gelareh Zadeh
Liquid biomarkers to change meningioma treatmentThis project is advancing research into how aggressive meningiomas can be diagnosed and how their treatment responses can be predicted. In collaboration with a major UK-led clinical trial and using advanced artificial intelligence, the team are striving towards tomorrow’s clinical care. Find out more
Dr Veronica Rendo
Making MDM2 drug resistance a thing of the pastDr Rendo is striving to understand how laboratory models of glioblastoma (GBM) become resistant to MDM2 inhibitors and to use this understanding to propose combinations of drugs to overcome or prevent the occurrence of resistance.
Dr Tyler Miller
Understanding how immune cells block glioblastoma treatmentsIn this exciting project, Dr Miller and his team will focus on immunosuppressive cells found in glioblastomas, which are currently believed to be preventing breakthrough immunotherapies from attacking brain tumours.
Dr Spencer Watson
Targeting treatment damage to stop recurrenceDr Watson’s work will explore whether glial scars, formed in response to injury such as radiotherapy or surgery, provide a microenvironment that tumour cells can use as a safe space to relapse from.
Dr Gelareh Zadeh
Targeting clinically challenging meningiomasDr Zadeh and the team are investigating what make clinically aggressive meningiomas (CAMs) and radiation induced meningiomas (RIMs) different, and hard to treat. Find out more
Professor Sebastian Brandner
Nanoparticle Couriers for GBM treatmentsWhen it comes to glioblastoma (GBM) treatments, there two key challenges: effective treatments and how to deliver them across the blood brain barrier. This grant has a fresh approach to both. Professor Brandner’s team are testing whether microRNAs can stop tumour growth when delivered by nanoparticles.
Dr Ola Rominiyi
3D models to understand invading GBM cellsThis innovative research project will develop a new 3D model of glioblastoma (GBM) for lab assessments. The researchers, based in Sheffield, will also use the model to prioritise some of the best potential drugs to enhance current therapies.
Dr Philipp Euskirchen
Working towards a faster diagnosisMolecular biomarker testing is becoming routine for people with brain tumours because it provides clinicians with a clearer path to the best available treatment. This project aims to decrease the time it takes to get the tests done, meaning that people have faster diagnoses and start on the best treatments sooner.
Dr Lucy Stead
Using nanobiopsy to see how tumours change during treatmentThis project is using advanced technology called nanobiopsy to extract tiny samples from living cells without killing them. Over the course of treatment, the team – led by Dr Lucy Stead at University of Leeds – will be able to take samples to see how the tumour changes. Find out more
Professor Thomas Wurdinger
Investigating combined drug treatmentsThis collaboration, being led from Amsterdam, will also involve UK researchers from the University of Cambridge, the Sanger Institute and IOTA Pharmaceuticals. They will be looking at existing drugs in different combinations. They have sophisticated software that will analyse already-licensed drugs to see which ones could work together to treat Glioblastoma (GBM). Find out more
Professor Steve Pollard
Linking glioblastomas to DNA-protein parcelsProfessor Pollard and his group are exploiting the latest genome editing technologies that have opened up new opportunities for understanding the biology of glioblastomas (GBM). Find out more
Dr Vincenzo D'Angiolella
Targeting glioblastoma cell metabolismThis grant aims to explore and target the increased metabolism of glioblastoma (GBM) cells which allow them to grow so quickly. In normal, healthy cells a lot of genes can cause metabolism to increase or decrease, speeding up or slowing down the cell’s growth. This research project will help to improve our knowledge of the differences between healthy brain tissue and tumour cells. It will help us better understand the underlying mechanisms driving aggressive glioblastomas, and identify ways in which we can disrupt these interactions with drugs to slow tumour growth. Find out more
Dr Adam Waldman
Predicting patient survival – a new method of MRIResearchers at Imperial College London have developed a new MRI scanning technique that will accurately measure how a tumour is responding to therapy. The team, led by Dr Adam Waldman, have developed a technique called Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) which measures the properties of water in both the tumour and surrounding brain to detect changes in growth. These changes can be identified at an earlier stage using DWI in comparison with standard MRI. This technique will now be trialled in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients across five different brain tumour research centres to confirm whether DWI is a more reliable method than standard MRI. Find out more
Dr Jan Schuemann
Extreme dose rate proton therapyPrevious studies have shown that delivering radiotherapy extremely rapidly can dramatically reduce side-effects. Radiation therapy that delivers the same dose of radiation in a much shorter period of time is called extreme dose radiation (EDR). EDR therapy has not been tested using proton beams, and that’s where this innovative research project comes in. The research team, led by Dr Schuemann, will use pre-clinical models to test EDR proton therapy with the aim of establishing a treatment regimen that’s effective and well-tolerated by people. They’ll compare EDR to conventional radiation delivery and look for any differences in side-effects, specifically looking into the effects on cognition and motor control. Learn more
Professor Neil Carragher
Targeting, treating and defeating glioblastomaProfessor Carragher will adopt a systematic approach to find new drug targets and new drug combinations to treat glioblastomas. In addition to discovering new combinations of drugs, they’ll continue their work by testing drug combinations already discovered by their team. This grant will allow researchers to suggest new combinations of therapies which have the greatest chance of being effective and well-tolerated in people. We hope that these new therapy combinations will signify a real step-change in the lives of people with a glioblastoma, improving quality of life and length of survival. Learn more
Prof. Martin van den Bent
Updating a major clinical trialThis grant will enable new analysis of an ongoing international clinical trial, which will impact on the future of clinical trials for people diagnosed with anaplastic glioma. This research project will play an important role by informing the prognosis for people with anaplastic gliomas. It will also help tailor treatments by identifying which people would benefit from more or less intense treatment and improve quality of survival. Find out more
Professor Colin Watts
Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIXThe Tessa Jowell BRAIN-MATRIX is a first-of-its-kind study that will enable doctors to treat brain tumours with drugs that are more targeted than ever before. We are excited to be investing £2.8 million to set the study up, and to drive it into the future. Although the trial is being led from the UK, we expect it to deliver global impact for brain cancer patients. Find out more
Professor Roel VerhaakTracking and Targeting Glioblastoma Professor Verhaak aims to understand how extra chromosomal DNA or ecDNA is created and maintained in cancer cells, and will then go on to develop strategies to treat glioblastomas by targeting ecDNA. Find out more
Professor Simona ParrinelloMapping glioblastoma cells Professor Parrinello, and her colleagues at Imperial College London, aim to understand how glioblastomas spread into the brain and how they use small molecules as messengers to communicate with surrounding cells. Find out more
Dr Stuart Smith
Targeting Glioblastoma drug resistance through RNA methylationResearchers, led by Dr Stuart Smith in Nottingham, will investigate the levels of RNA methylation in GMB cells and compare them to levels in low grade tumours. They will then test the theory that RNA methylation is responsible for some GBM tumours becoming resistant to current treatments.
Professor Martin Taphoorn
Patient reported outcomes to measure treatment successAn group of international researchers are assessing what Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) are currently being measured, and whether they’re fit for purpose. They’ll then be able to influence clinical practice, and clinical trials, to make sure that things that matter most to the brain tumour community are addressed.
Current low grade brain tumour research projects
Here are the research projects we are currently funding that relate to understanding or treating low grade brain tumours in adults
Professor Monika Hegi
MGMT methylation levels predicting treatment response
In this project, the researchers will be working to find a biomarker for IDH-mutated low grade gliomas (LGGs). They want to predict which people will get the most, and the least, benefit from temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy. They propose that with this knowledge, some treatments, such as radiotherapy, could be reduced or delayed, avoiding side-effects and improving quality of life.
Dr Marion Smits
Monitoring Low grade tumour progression
Previous research has shown that in parts of a tumour where the cells are multiplying rapidly, there’s a build-up of certain proteins. This project will use a new and non-invasive imaging technique called Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer (CEST) to visualise and measure protein build-up in low grade diffuse gliomas.
By measuring and monitoring protein build-up, researchers hope to be able to detect tumour growth and progression sooner and create more effective treatment plans.
Professor Colin Watts
Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX
The Tessa Jowell BRAIN-MATRIX is a first-of-its-kind study that will enable doctors to treat brain tumours with drugs that are more targeted than ever before. We are excited to be investing £2.8 million to set the trial up, and to drive it into the future.
Although the trial is being led from the UK, we expect it to deliver global impact for brain cancer patients.
Professor Linda Sharp
Self-management for improved quality of life
Professor Sharp and her team will start by looking at the research that has been done into self-management programmes for other cancers, as well as those used currently by brain tumour survivors.
She will look for the aspects of these previous or existing programmes to determine which worked best.
Dr Jan Schuemann
Extreme dose rate proton therapy
Previous studies have shown that delivering radiotherapy extremely rapidly can dramatically reduce side-effects. Radiation therapy that delivers the same dose of radiation in a much shorter period of time is called extreme dose radiation (EDR). EDR therapy has not been tested using proton beams, and that’s where this innovative research project comes in.
The research team, led by Dr Schuemann, will use pre-clinical models to test EDR proton therapy with the aim of establishing a treatment regimen that’s effective and well-tolerated by people. They’ll compare EDR to conventional radiation delivery and look for any differences in side-effects, specifically looking into the effects on cognition and motor control.
Past research projects
Manipulating the tumour’s environment
Advancing imaging methods to improve surgical outcomes
Does STAT3 help form a barrier around GBM?
Cancer-killing viruses for high grade glioma
Uncovering tumour transition from – low grade to high grade
Understanding gliobastoma initiation
Investigating tumour initiating events
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for more accurate diagnoses
Repurposing drugs for glioblastoma
Using drugs and gels to bypass the blood brain barrier
Reducing the effects of fatigue
Making radiotherapy more effective in GBM
Studying the interaction between genetically different cells in glioblastoma tumour
Delivering gene-editing technology to tumour cells across the blood brain barrier
Boosting the immune system to beat brain tumours
Shutting down the energy generators in brain tumours
A new pre-clinical model to defeat glioblastoma
Beating therapy resistance with fluorescent dye
Changing the environment around glioblastoma to improve immunotherapy treatments
Developing drugs against a tumour causing protein in glioblastoma
Identifying molecular compounds for drug delivery to target glioblastoma tumour cells
Harnessing the power of tumour enzymes to activate drugs
3D printing of brain tumour cells
Understanding left over tumour cells
Unwrapping genes to find new treatments
Unlocking low grade gliomas with a new tumour model
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