New partnership between UCLP brain tumour scientists and Brain Tumour Research

4 March 2014

We are delighted to announce a ground-breaking new research partnership between Queen Mary University of London and UCL Institute of Neurology (under UCLPartners) and the charity Brain Tumour Research. The partnership begins a new chapter in long-term, sustainable and continuous research into brain tumours, the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40.

Formally presented to MPs at a reception in Speaker’s House today, the research is led by Professor Silvia Marino, based within Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute and Professor Brandner at UCL Institute of Neurology, leading brain tumour scientists and neuropathologists. Other key partners in this initiative are Professor Sheer, from Queen Mary, and Dr Rees from the National Hospital, Queen Square

The research will focus on glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and most aggressive type of malignant brain tumour found in humans. The aim of the research is to increase our understanding of the cells within the brain from which GBM originates. The team will look at how this particular type of brain tumour develops from normal cells, and which genes and biological functions control its behaviour. By uncovering this essential knowledge, the clinical evaluation of each individual patient can be improved and better and more specific drugs which target the tumour cells can be identified.

Sebastian Brandner, Professor of Neuropathology at UCL Institute of Neurology comments:

This major boost of funding into brain tumour research will enable significant steps towards a breakthrough. The plan for this collaborative centre of excellence funded by “Brain Tumour Research” is to specialise in adult glioblastoma as we have a wealth of experience in the field ranging from preclinical experimental models to advanced genomics for direct patient benefit. This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen collaborative links between us and Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute”

The partnership is part of the charity’s £20 million investment in brain tumour research over the next five years. Brain Tumour Research aims to establish seven Research Centres of Excellence across the UK, building a ‘critical mass’ of research teams and aiming to bring Britain to the forefront of brain tumour research.

With secure long-term funding, researchers will be able to pursue the sustainable and continuous research so desperately needed by the scientists and clinicians working in the heavily underfunded field of brain tumour research. Promising scientists will be trained up through the ranks and as specialist brain tumour expertise and knowledge builds, experienced researchers can then move between Centres to encourage cross-pollination of the very best thinking at the cutting-edge of brain tumour research.

Sue Farrington Smith, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, comments: “Today we will be forming a powerful new network of researchers in order to accelerate progress in brain tumour research and make a clinical difference. All partners involved share a vision of a sustainable and secure research for brain tumours in the UK, ultimately creating better futures for all those diagnosed and living with a brain tumour. We are determined to do all we can to change this, and to one day find a cure for this devastating disease.”