Brain tumour research programme

Brain tumours are the sixth most common cancer in adults, accounting for 2% of all tumours, and the most common form of solid cancer in children.

The overall incidence of such tumours in the UK is of the order of 10-20 cases per 100,000. They are a significant cause of cause of neurological morbidity and mortality in all age groups and there is an urgent requirement to develop new effective therapeutic strategies based on their intrinsic molecular biology.

In our research programme, we are integrating our expertise in genetic and cell biological analysis to provide a unique insight into the mechanisms of tumour development and clinical behaviour (eg tumour recurrence, malignant progression, response to therapy and overall survival) and to develop new therapies for brain tumours based on an understanding of their genomic background.

One of the key components to developing and evaluating novel treatment strategies is the ability to test their efficacy in vitro.

The Neuro-Oncology Research Centre has an internationally unrivalled collection of short-term cell cultures (>3000) derived from brain tumours of different histologies and grades of malignancy.

These cultures can be used to test new cytotoxic compounds or novel combinations of drugs which act synergistically. We can also modulate the tumour cell environment (eg availability of nutrients and oxygen) or manipulate the expression of molecular targets (eg signalling pathway components) in order to evaluate the effect on cell proliferation and behaviour.