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Portsmouth research into biggest cancer killer of children and under 40s

National charity Brain Tumour Research has provided significant funding for a collaborative programme with the charity’s Centre of Excellence at the University of Portsmouth and Cardiff University.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) brain tumours are the most malignant and deadly form of brain cancer and sadly the most common. GBMs display an ability to invade neighbouring healthy brain tissue and resist drug and radiation therapies.

Professors Mark Gumbleton (left) and Geoff Pilkington

Professors Mark Gumbleton (left) and Geoff Pilkington

£180,000 funding for two PhD students to assist in vital research into GBM brain tumours has been granted by Brain Tumour Research and Cancer Research Wales (supported by Brain Tumour Research member charity the Thorne Mason Trust and Cardiff University).  Professor Geoff Pilkington at the University of Portsmouth and Professor Mark Gumbleton at Cardiff University are working together on a research project examining the role of a protein called caveolin with respect to the function of cancer stem cells and immune cells within brain tumours. The project is aimed towards developing more specific targeted therapies for future patients.

At a recent event, Welsh MPs, Welsh Assembly Members, charity supporters and representatives, University researchers from Portsmouth and Cardiff and journalists from the media, heard about the expanding capacity for brain tumour research. Scientists showcased their activities and explained how funding is having an impact on this neglected field of cancer research – bringing hope to thousands of brain tumour patients and their families across the UK.

Professor Geoff Pilkington, Head of Brain Tumour Research’s Centre of Excellence at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Our joint studies are aimed at gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms of how the tumour cells diffusely invade into the normal brain and how we might prevent this or target therapy towards these invading tumour cells.

“I hope that this research collaboration will lead to a greater understanding in the area of GBMs.  It is only through innovative research projects that we will find a cure for brain tumours.”

Kieran Breen, Director of Research at Brain Tumour Research commented: “Less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers.  Taking a lead in building up the UK’s research capacity is a key priority for the charity and we are excited to be able to help support this vital research study into such a woefully underfunded cancer.”

Brain Tumour Research is campaigning to see the national spend on brain tumour research increased to £30 – £35 million a year, in line with breast cancer and leukaemia, in order to advance treatments, and ultimately find a cure.

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