A new mouse model to defeat glioblastoma

Modelling glioblastoma tumours using mice to study the tumours' invasive properties.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow have created a new model to study the aggressive properties of glioblastoma, using mice that develop brain tumours which are highly similar to those affecting humans.

Glioblastomas are incredibly difficult to treat as they invade the surrounding brain tissue, causing distressing symptoms such as loss of speech and memory. It is crucial to understand the mechanisms that cause this invasion, however until now, models of glioblastoma within the lab have not accurately represented human tumours.

The team, led by Professor Anthony Chalmers, will be using the new mouse model to investigate a biochemical pathway known as Rho, which is thought to control the ability of tumour cells to become mobile and infiltrate surrounding tissue.

If the model is successful, the team will test new drugs to target the Rho pathway and stop tumour invasion. They will also investigate whether the level of activity from the Rho pathway correlates with the extent of tumour invasion.

This could lead to more accurate diagnosis of glioblastomas and personalisation of treatment according to a patient's Rho pathway profile. The team will also develop a novel MRI imaging technique to measure the extent of tumour invasion in the brain.

A new mouse model will be key to understanding the mechanisms behind glioblastoma invasion, which is essential to find new drug targets and develop new treatment options.

Project information

Formal title: Developing and testing novel therapies targeting the invasive behaviour of human glioblastoma

Key Researcher: Professor Anthony Chalmers, Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, University of Glasgow

Tumour type: Glioblastoma

Research type: Tumour biology

Timing: Granted in July 2013 for three years