Projects across the Centre span our research pipeline, from discovering how the cancers start right through to treating these cancers in the clinic

Read below about some of the Centre projects across the different areas of children’s brain tumour research.

New Therapies for Ependymoma

Fully funded by the Centre and led by the Medicinal Chemistry team at ICR and the Gilbertson lab in the University of Cambridge, one of our key projects is the discovery and development of new drugs for treatment in Ependymoma tumours.

How are we addressing this challenging project?

A drug screen was carried out with over 1.2 million compound against aggressive brain tumour cell lines to identify any drugs which may cause cell death. From this data, the chemistry team have been working to develop a new treatment for Supratentorial Ependymoma with the ZFTA subtype (for further information about the ependymoma subtypes please read more here). Further to the screening efforts, new models of the disease have been generated by the Gilbertson lab which will enable assessment of treatments in context of current standard of care and identification of new drug targets.

New Roads Project; Innovative approaches to curing brain tumours

Funded by CRUK, the New Roads Project is a massive international effort with world leaders in the field of brain tumour research, cellular and molecular biology and neuropathology.

New Roads Project – what are we aiming to do?

Despite decades of research, adult glioblastoma remains incurable and paediatric brain tumours kill and damage more children than any other cancer. The only reasonable conclusion from this experience is that our approach to treating brain tumours is wrong, and completely different ways of treating these diseases will be required if we are to enable all patients to lead healthy lives. The New Roads project aims to unmask and exploit differences in the biology of the normal and malignant brain to produce safe and effective therapies. Our research tests the hypothesis that brain tumours comprise corrupt cell hierarchies that exploit neural cell processes to survive. Comparative mapping of normal and malignant brain biology will therefore identify these neural cell processes and their vulnerability to a new generation of effective and safe therapies. By adopting a novel, neuroscience-focused approach to brain tumours, the project will change the way the world thinks about and treats these diseases and identify novel therapeutic approaches for patients.

Choroid Plexus Carcinoma

Choroid Plexus Carcinoma (CPC) are highly aggressive tumours occurring in very young children, with 50-75% arising under 4 years of age. Despite multimodal treatment utilising chemotherapy and radiation, 50-75% of tumours will relapse and 30-60% of patients will die of their disease. Pre-clinical data from the Gilbertson lab identified novel dependencies on DNA repair. Based on this data we have established a collaboration with an industry partner and are planning a clinical study which aims to slow tumour growth and prevent relapse in children with these tumours.

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