The Christopher Clarke Cancer Research Fund formally merged with The Brain Tumour Charity in May 2012. They are the sole funder of research taking place at The University of Manchester.
Neurosurgeon Mr Omar Pathmanaban and his colleagues are examining the way in which the immune defence cells in the brain called microglia may influence key cancer cells in brain tumours. The immune defence cells are thought to make chemicals that affect the behaviour of ‘brain tumour stem cells’, which appear to play a central role in tumour development. Targeting the defence cells with new therapies might in future help re-programme them to fight the tumour, improving patient outcomes.
So far, the team have grown cells in the laboratory from samples of brain tumours donated by patients. These cells have been studied and used to explore the effect of microglia on tumour cell movement and growth. They have also developed an animal model of brain tumours and optimised ways of studying the growth of these tumours. The preliminary evidence indicates that microglia are capable of reducing tumour growth. The are planning to continue exploring this finding in the next year.