Our initial focus is on glioblastoma (grade IV astrocytoma), a particularly lethal form of brain cancer that is characterized by diffusely infiltrative growth. Glioblastoma is a major unmet medical need globally.
Our collaborators at the University of Heidelberg and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have convincingly shown that the tumour cells in glioblastoma interconnect through structures called tumour microtubes to form a functional network that enables brain invasion, proliferation, and resistance to chemo- and radiotherapy.
There is also strong human genetic validation for the role of tumour microtubes in glioblastoma (astrocytoma); less aggressive oligodendroglial brain tumours have a genetic co-deletion (1p19q) and are unable to form intercellular networks through tumour microtubes, are chemo- and radiosensitive and have a better prognosis. Experiments have identified genes that are lost in the 1p19q co-deletion and shown that it is possible to render an astrocytoma phenotype into a oligodendroglioma phenotype by knocking down certain genetic targets, and vice versa.
Please find, below, links to some key publications from our collaborators.