Leading neuroscientists meet in Portsmouth

Scientists at the forefront of research to find a cure for brain tumours are meeting in Portsmouth tomorrow (1 September).

Professor Geoff Pilkington

Professor Geoff Pilkington

Professor Geoff Pilkington, Director of the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the University of Portsmouth, is hosting a symposium for researchers working to better understand the blood brain barrier. Getting new or repurposed drugs across the barrier, which is formed by a specialised arrangement of cells and proteins constituting the blood vessels within the brain, is a critical element of our research into discovering new approaches to treating brain tumours.

Professor Pilkington and his team created the first all-human model of the blood brain barrier and he will be among those sharing research updates at the 7th UK & Ireland Early Career Blood Brain Barrier Symposium, which takes place at the University on Friday 1 September.

The event provides a unique platform for researchers at an early stage in their careers and includes keynote speakers Maria Tenje, Associate Professor of Microsystems Technology at Uppsala University and Lund University, and Huw Thomas from laboratory equipment supplier Baker Ruskinn.

Professor Pilkington said: “The purpose of the blood brain barrier is to protect the brain from toxins but this also means it can prevent certain drugs, which have already been shown to be of value for treating other types of cancer, from entering the brain thus rendering them ineffective for malignant brain tumours.

“The symposium is aimed at sharing knowledge and encouraging early career researchers. This will help ensure sustainable research which is vital if we are to find cures for brain tumours and other diseases affecting the brain.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease. Brain Tumour Research funds a network of Centres of Excellence, including its flagship in Portsmouth, where scientists are focused on improving treatments and, ultimately, finding a cure.

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