Research Stories – Fighting brain tumours in Edinburgh

Brain tumours, the biggest killer…

Brain tumours are the second most common form of childhood cancer and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. They kill almost 100 children a year in the UK, more than any other cancer. Survivors can be left with a seriously impaired quality of life as a result of the tumour and the aggressive treatments used. Research into childhood brain tumours has not been well-funded historically. This means that progress has been slower than in other childhood cancers such as leukaemia.

Our brain tumour initiative – vital new funding for brain tumour research

To address this, in 2014 we launched our new paediatric brain tumour initiative. We wanted to increase the pace of research into these devastating tumours. The aim is to speed up the development of new treatments. The treatments need to be more effective, helping more young patients to survive, but also less harmful, enabling these patients to not only survive but thrive. Under this new initiative, we committed £3 million over three years for new research into paediatric brain tumours. In spring 2015 we awarded the first four grants, at a total cost of £1.8m. Dr Steve Pollard was the recipient of one of these grants.

Shining the light on incurable brain tumours

In a project that brings together research teams from the UK, Canada and Sweden, Steve is studying an incurable brain tumour called paediatric glioblastoma (pGBM). The teams are working together, pooling expertise and resources, in an ambitious project that promises to take forward our understanding of the function and behaviour of certain cancer genes in pGBM. Steve gave us an intriguing insight into their work to unravel the intricate genetic mechanisms underlying these devastating tumours. We were able to see for ourselves the amazing state-of-the-art facilities available to them at the Centre for Regenerative Medicine; we had the opportunity to study brain tumour cells under high-powered microscopes and view fascinating time-lapse footage of cancer cells multiplying. The ultimate aim of this work is the development or discovery of drugs that can combat these deadly tumours.

Thank you Coral!

This vital project, in common with all our work, is funded entirely through voluntary donations. To date Coral’s amazing staff have raised more than £1.3 million; this massively increases our ability to fund new research and we are hugely grateful. It has been a privilege to be able to take the Coral team on the four visits that we have organised this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – to Surrey, London, Manchester and Edinburgh. As the month now comes to a close, we hope we have showed you just how important your support is, and inspired you to keep up your amazing fundraising efforts. Thank you Coral!
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