Brain tumour research receives £2.4 million funding

Brain tumour research receives £2.4 million funding


Wednesday, 4 April, 2018

Prof Margaret Frame and Prof Valarie Brunton (both Centre Research UK Edinburgh Centre, Institute for Genetics & Molecular Medicine) have been awarded a £2.4 million Cancer Research UK Programme Award to understand more about brain tumours and how to target them with drugs – focusing on the most common type of brain tumour, called glioblastoma. 

This award builds upon a 2016 CRUK award to Prof Steve Pollard (MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine) to carry out the groundbreaking cancer stem cell development work in collaboration with researchers at University College London, to help discover better ways to treat brain tumours.  Now Professors Frame and Brunton and their teams will use these new stem cell ‘models’ to study how a specialised group of molecules – called adhesion proteins – work individually and together in brain tumours, to try and find changes in cancer that can be targeted for therapy.  The scientists hope to increase their understanding of the nature of the proteins and how they cause brain tumours to form. Ultimately their goal is to discover how best to use existing and new drugs, and drug combinations, to treat the disease.

Professor Frame said: "We are thrilled and proud to have been awarded this funding to help us push forward our new ideas on understanding brain tumours and find potential new treatments for patients with this devastating disease. We are looking forward to finding out what we can uncover using techniques developed by our colleagues in Edinburgh and London – which have not been possible until relatively recently. We have a wonderful team here in Edinburgh, and we’re really excited to be pursuing new approaches to treating brain tumours. An important aspect of our work will be to look at how certain proteins affect the surrounding environment in brain tumours, including the immune system, to reveal whether there is potential for immunotherapies to treat glioblastoma. Clinical trials are showing that such immunotherapies are working in other cancer types, and we aim to establish whether this could also be a valuable approach for brain tumours"

It is estimated that there are around 240 people are diagnosed with glioblastoma in the brain every year in Scotland. Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK’s spokesperson in Scotland, said "Whilst survival for many types of cancer has improved dramatically over the last 40 years, tackling brain tumours is still a real challenge and they take the lives of far too many people each year. “This £2.4 million investment recognises the world-leading research taking place in Edinburgh, which is crucial to helping us understand the biology of brain tumours and finding new and better ways to treat them. One-in-two of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lives – so it’s reassuring to know that, thanks to our supporters, Cancer Research UK is able to fund some of the best and most promising research here in Scotland, to help more people survive. There are so many ways to support Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work, from entering Race for Life, with events taking place at locations all around Scotland from May through to September, to giving time to volunteer in our shops. Every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters."