This 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.
In the lab, a small amount of material is taken from within a single tumour cell, and a very small amount of dye is added into the cell so the researchers can find it again later. The tumour cells are then treated with radiation and chemotherapy to mimic a patient’s treatment. Afterwards, another small amount of cellular material is taken from the same cell. Both samples are compared to find out how the treatments have changed the cell.
Glioblastomas are the most common, and one of the most aggressive types of brain cancer found in adults. The standard treatment involves surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
However, the tumour always grows back, so we need to understand why these treatments are failing.
What we don't know is whether glioblastoma cells are naturally resistant to treatment or whether treatments cause changes within the cells that make them resistant.
By analysing the same cell before and after treatment, we can see if there are changes which make it resistant to treatment, or if the treatment was never going to kill the tumour completely. When we know this, we can find new treatments that will work better.
People with glioblastoma, now and in the future.
I am a computational brain tumour biologist and my research team's goal is to identify and characterise the specific brain tumour cells that currently resist treatment so we can develop more effective drugs to kill them.