The researchers on this project - led by Professor Denise Sheer (Queen Mary's University London) and Professor JP Martinez-Barbera (University College London) - are working to create pre-clinical models for childhood low grade brain tumours (glioma).
Pre-clinical models are used by scientists to test new treatments in the lab before they are then used in humans, as part of a clinical trial.
Up till now, it's been difficult to create new models of low grade gliomas, because in humans a glioma does one of three things:
Once we know the models work correctly, we can understand how the tumour can be treated and defeated. Low grade gliomas currently account for half of children with brain tumours, so this will be a significant advance.
To make tumours in the lab grow like this we needed to understand why they change their behaviour. Recent research has revealed a number of mutations (spelling mistakes in the tumour's DNA) which we think might be causing these behaviours.
Thanks to this grant Professors Sheer and Martinez-Barbera have been able to make models that have the same mutations as kid's tumours and they are now testing the models to make sure they behave as expected.
Our achievements so far lay a strong foundation for developing new approaches to treatment for children with low-grade gliomas.