Light and magnets

6 min read


Feeling the pull: Using magnetic drug targeting to improve chemotherapy in brain tumours Researchers at the University of Sheffield have demonstrated proof-of-concept for a device designed using neodymium magnets, which creates a focused and stable magnetic field over a brain tumour. In a study in mice, part funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK)they attached magnetic nanoparticles to temozolomide (TMZ) and showed that the device could concentrate the magnetised TMZ inside the brain tumour, reducing the size of the tumours in the mice and extending survival compared to those treated with TMZ alone. The article is published on the CRUK website and provides historical background and a practical explanation for this development. 


New Drug Combination May Effectively Treat Deadly Childhood Brain Cancer Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, with others, have found a drug combination that influences immune system responses, improving outcomes for MYC amplified medulloblastoma (MB). Published in the Journal of ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, researchers found that the combination of anti-CD47 and the HDAC inhibitor, tacedinaline, eliminated MYC-driven cancer cells with increased effectiveness due to the enhancement of ‘eat-me’ signals and antibody-dependent block of ‘don’t eat-me’ signals. This may be an effective approach for treating high-risk MYC-driven MB.  

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are a step closer to creating a new generation of light-activated cancer treatments The team at UEA have engineered antibody fragments that covalently bind to target cells when irradiated with UV light of a specific wavelength. They suggested that the antibodies could be activated at the site of a tumour and covalently stick to their target upon light activation, improving the specificity of immunotherapies for solid state tumours. The research was published in Nature Chemical Biology


Bexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Announces Publication of Paediatric Phase 1 (KOURAGE) Results The open-label multi-centre phase 1 safety study of BXQ-350 in children and young adults with relapsed solid tumours, including recurrent malignant brain tumours, report that BXQ-350 is a well-tolerated intravenous drug and achieved the maximum planned dose. The safety and dose objectives were met, which will enable Bexion to open a paediatric phase 1 study in newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)/diffuse midline glioma (DMG).  


BNOS 2023 Bursary Applications Open:  5-7 July 2023, University of Manchester  There are up to 20 bursaries of £300 to attend this year’s annual conference. They can be used towards the cost of subsidised registration, accommodation, transport and £20 towards evening meals, which are not included within the meeting registration. 

There are three categories of bursary on offer: 

  • Up to 8 bursaries for non-medical trainees (e.g., research PhD students), junior medical PhD students, undergraduate students and young clinicians who do not receive funding from elsewhere.
  • Up to 8 bursaries for Clinical Nurse Specialists and Allied Health Professionals
  • Up to 4 bursaries to be awarded to Patient / Carer Representatives 
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