Gels, 3D genome mapping, and familial glioma

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Familial Glioma Study Uncovers New Risk Genes Familial glioma is a subset of glioma with a strong genetic predisposition that accounts for approximately 5% of glioma cases. Researchers performed whole-genome sequencing on an exploratory cohort of individuals with families which have a history of familial glioma. Published in Science Advances, the researchers demonstrated that genes associated with other heritable cancers may also increase glioma susceptibility. Furthermore, they identified new roles for some genes, including HERC2 and TRPC4AP, as well as identifying significant enrichment of noncoding variants as possible causes of familial glioma

3D genome mapping may lead to the treatment of deadliest paediatric brain tumours Researchers looking into ependymomas, an aggressive paediatric tumour with a number of different subtypes, have used an emerging technique called 3D genome mapping to look at how genes are organised within the nucleus of cells. By visualizing how the genome is organized and arranged within tumour cells, they were able to reveal genes in tumours that may be future targets for therapy. The results appear in Nature Communications

Antisense Oligonucleotides Help Treat Deadly Brain Cancer in Mice Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas (DIPG) are paediatric high-grade brain tumours located in the brainstem, which limits treatment options and thus leads to poor patient outcomes. In this study, published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers generated and screened compounds known as antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) in H3.3 mutant DIPG patient cells. They treated a variety of models with their lead ASO, which led to reduced tumour growth, cell differentiation, and increased survival, suggesting ASOs as a promising therapy for DIPG that requires further study. 

This gel stops brain tumours in mice. Could it offer hope for humans? Researchers have packaged an anticancer drug­­­ and an antibody in a solution that self-assembles (aCD47) into a gel which, when applied to the surgery site after a brain tumour is removed, fills the tiny grooves that remain. The gel reaches areas that surgery may have missed and current drugs struggle to reach in order to kill lingering cancer cells and suppress tumour growth. Published in PNAS, the study revealed that the gel also seems to trigger an immune response that a mouse’s body struggles to activate on its own when fighting glioblastoma. When the researchers rechallenged surviving mice with a new glioblastoma tumour, their immune systems alone beat the cancer without additional medication. The gel appears to not only fend off cancer but help rewire the immune system to discourage recurrence with immunological memory. 


Children with Cancer UK Childhood Cancer Conference 2023 For Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Children with Cancer UK are re-launching their research conference, focusing on Embracing Research, Collaboration and Change. Taking place on the 19th and 20th of September, early bird registration is now open. Children with Cancer UK are also inviting participants to showcase their latest research and submit abstracts for poster presentation at the conference Children with Cancer UK Childhood Cancer Conference 2023 – Abstract Submission  The submission deadline is 17th July. 

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