New Ideas Awards 2016

This scheme is designed to encourage innovative thinking that could fundamentally change our understanding, diagnosis and/or management of brain tumours.

We hope this research may eventually lead to significant improvements in clinical outcome, including quality of life, for patients with brain tumours.

3D printing of brain tumour cells

Up until now, researchers have struggled to get a true view of how brain tumour cells behave because of the difficulties in recreating the human brain environment in the lab. Dr Leslie has, for the first time, found an innovative way of using 3D printing to print and mix glioblastoma stem cells with other cell types common within brain tumours.

Dr Leslie's work will now create a more realistic model for testing treatments, meaning they can get to patients faster.

Exploring how networks are formed

Mr Hart's research aims to explore how networks are formed to the remote areas of the brain that are responsible for complex cognitive functions such as problem solving. By doing so, he hopes to define exactly how much of a low grade glioma can be removed while retaining as much brain function as possible.

This research could have an immediate impact by decreasing the after effects of surgery including lowering the chance of seizures.

Understanding left-over tumour cells

Mr Smith will be using the 5-ALA drink which is taken by patients ahead of surgery to make tumorous cells glow pink (and why it's also known as 'the pink drink') to analyse the residual cancer cells left in a patient's brain after surgery.

By removing these cells - which will also glow pink - and identifying the precise mutations within them, he hopes to develop targeted treatments which could lead to fewer tumour recurrences.

Uncovering tumour transition

Dr Brennan is looking at how and why some low grade gliomas change into high grade gliomas. By undertaking tests on low grade cells, he hopes to define the biomarkers (indicators, such as genes, molecules or other biological substances found in blood or cells, which can be used to measure or diagnose a tumour) that are changing the cells.

Dr Brennan's work could facilitate earlier detection of when tumours become aggressive and could allow for drugs to be tested to slow or stop this transition.

Find out more about Dr Brennan

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