Adult and paediatric brain cancers now account for more cancer deaths in the under 40’s than any other cancer, with adult gliomas accounting for the majority of the ~5000 cases of malignant brain tumours in the UK each year. However, scientific translation to the clinic is hampered by both a lack of a community of academic, science-minded specialist clinicians who work in neuro-oncology, and poor understanding of the key biological vulnerabilities to target therapeutically. At present, for both paediatric and adult brain cancers, there are no effective translational pipelines from basic research to clinical trials to enable evidence-led ‘smart’ clinical advances in a UK-wide network with global connections.
The Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, a joint initiative of the University of Edinburgh (UoE) and the University College London (UCL), tackles the building of a new neuro-oncology community as a priority, with integration into our strong cancer research and training infrastructure at both UoE and the UCL. We work to establish a new translational pipeline that is built on a deeper biological understanding of brain cancer, translating biological and data-intensive health research and phenotypic-led drug discovery (in disease-relevant and predictive pre-clinical models) via a strong clinical community that is ready to perform state-of-the-art adaptive clinical studies. To fuel the pipeline, with additional funding for science in due course, we try to maximise new cross-disciplinary opportunities in data-driven innovation, imaging technologies and growing strengths in phenotypic drug discovery using patient-derived glioma cellular models.
In 5 to 10 years, we aim to have transformed the landscape across the UK for discovery, and clinical evaluation, of new brain cancer therapeutics.
UCL researchers linked to the Centre
- Prof Tariq Enver (Co-lead) Stem Cell Laboratory
- Prof Simona Parrinello (Co-lead) Samantha Dickson Brain Cancer Unit
- Prof Darren Hargrave (Clinical co-lead) Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health
- Prof Giuseppe Battaglia, Molecular Bionics Laboratory
- Prof Sebastian Brandner, Institute of Neurology
- Prof Bob Brownston, Neural Circuits for Movement Laboratory
- Prof Harry Hemingway, Institute of Health Informatics
- Prof Tom Jacques, Childhood Brain Tumours and Epilesy Research Group
- Prof Mark Lythgoe, Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging
- Prof Silvia Marino, Institute of Neurology and Blizard Institute
- Prof JP Martinez-Barbera, Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health
- Dr Martin Pule, UCL CAR T Programme
- Prof Sergio Quezada, Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Research Group
- Professor Ricky Sharma, Translational Radiation Oncology Research Group
- Dr Karin Straathof, Great Ormond Street Institute for Child Health