Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40, than any other cancer. Despite all we have learnt about the biological nature of ‘cancer’, the incidence of primary brain tumours has risen at an alarming rate over the past few decades, generally bringing with them a poor prognosis.

The complex biology of a brain tumour, in comparison to other cancers, is a major obstacle in the development of new therapies. Unlike other cancers, a significant disadvantage is the vast array of cell types (cellular heterogeneity) present within the brain, hence the diversity of tumour types (there are around 130 different brain and intracranial tumour types). Although primary brain tumours rarely metastasise to distant organs, one of the major biological features of these tumours is diffuse local cellular invasion (aggressive movement of brain tumours into the normal, healthy adjacent brain).

Our Brain Tumour Research Centre dedicates its research to focusing on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain tumour development, and progression of response to therapy. It is our goal to work with national and international collaborators to develop novel and multi-targeted therapies for patients diagnosed with brain cancers. While many brain tumour laboratories concentrate on a single tumour type or specific area of research it has been our goal to run programmes of research of a diverse nature.

Blood-Brain Barrier

The blood brain barrier (BBB) can be considered a friend and a foe. As its name implies the BBB is a living fortress that protects the brain from potentially harmful chemicals. While this is a very positive thing in our everyday lives, the BBB is a challenge when trying to get much needed therapies to… Continue reading Blood-Brain Barrier

Drug delivery and repurposed drugs

With the rapid advances in genomic and proteomic information fuelled by the advances in technology and bioinformatics we are in a good position to test novel agents that are safe, inexpensive and effective. Our Therapeutics group aims to target the different aspects of brain tumour behaviour using a multi-modality approach, combining current therapies with novel… Continue reading Drug delivery and repurposed drugs

Mitochondria and Metabolism

Normal cell function and metabolism is dependent on many thousand miniature energy-producing batteries known as mitochondria. Defective mitochondria are a hallmark of cancers, including brain tumours. The brain tumour research team at the University of Portsmouth has identified numerous, small defects (mutations) in the mitochondrial DNA of brain tumours, and are investigating how they contribute… Continue reading Mitochondria and Metabolism

Tumour Micro-environment

Brain tumours arise in an orchestrated fashion by interacting with host ‘normal’ brain cells – it is as if the cancer cells influence the host cells to help them in their destructive ambition. Additionally, if that is not bad enough, both cell types will adapt to therapies over time (tumour resistance). There are four current… Continue reading Tumour Micro-environment

Paediatric Neuro-oncology

In our paediatric brain tumour research group we focus on medulloblastoma and paediatric high grade glioma (DIPG and pGBM). We are currently gaining an understanding of the metabolic mechanisms that contribute to the growth of these cancers as well as testing gene therapy approaches targeting genes responsible for protecting tumour cells from chemotherapies. There is… Continue reading Paediatric Neuro-oncology