Identifying changes in DNA
In this five-year research programme, Dr Gelareh Zadeh aims to identify key DNA mutations within a cell that start, as well as maintain, the growth of high grade meningiomas.
She and her team are analysing tumour samples from 500 patients around the world to identify common changes in DNA. They’re also investigating how changes to the way DNA is folded influences the way the DNA ‘code’ is used. This analysis will help to identify and target the changes associated with the aggressive nature of high grade meningiomas.
Connecting genetic changes to clinical behaviour
In addition to studying tumour samples, the researchers are also collecting information on the quality of life of people with meningiomas, including persistent symptoms such as fatigue. This information will be used to establish a database of symptoms, which they’ll link with clinical information to gain a fuller understanding of how meningiomas impact everyday life.
Why is this research important?
Almost a quarter of all primary brain tumours in adults are meningiomas. As many as 90% are considered low grade, but a small subset are high grade. These are referred to as ‘clinically aggressive meningiomas’, or ‘CAMs’. Beyond surgery and radiation therapy, treatment options for CAMs are limited, making it essential to understand the biology of these high grade meningiomas, so we can pick up the pace towards a cure for those affected.
Progress so far
Based on preliminary data, the team has built a tool that helps predict the risk of meningioma regrowth after surgery. This means that clinicians know when to give more aggressive treatment, and when the same treatment is likely to do more harm than good. This tool is a great step towards our goal of halving the harm that brain tumours have on quality of life. We’re looking forward to seeing what else the team produces in the next three years that can benefit those diagnosed with a meningioma.