Microgravity, Artificial Intelligence and Circular RNA

6 min read


Cancer cells set to be launched into space for microgravity experiment on the International Space Station Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and partners from the UK space sector, are sending samples of diffuse midline gliomas (DMG) to the International Space Station in a study called D(MG)2. The project, led by Dr Chris Jones, aims to use microgravity conditions and bioreactor experimental units to create large 3D structures of cancer cells to assess spatial interactions between DMG subclones. 

Dr Chris Jones is also Director of our fourth Centre of Excellence at the Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton, Surrey, where he, and his team, will be identifying new treatments for paediatric-type diffuse high-grade gliomas, including DMG and DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma).  

AI-based diagnostic screening system could streamline the diagnosis and treatment of gliomas A team of neurosurgeons and engineers have developed an AI-based diagnostic screening system called DeepGlioma that uses rapid imaging to analyse tumour specimens taken during an operation and detect genetic mutations more rapidly. In the study, published in Nature Medicine, the researchers demonstrated that for 150 patients with diffuse glioma, the most common and deadly primary brain tumour, the newly developed system identified mutations used by the World Health Organization to define molecular subgroups of the condition with an average accuracy over 90%.  

Fat-burning molecule may be promising target for most common childhood brain cancer Researchers have identified oncogenic circular RNA, circ_63706, as a potential therapeutic target in sonic hedgehog-subtype childhood medulloblastomas (SHH MBs). The study, published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications, used detailed molecular analysis to reveal that circ_63706 may reprogramme global lipid (fat) metabolism in MB cells to enhance tumourigenesis. The researchers suggest that oncogenic circRNA circ_63706 could be an important therapeutic target and biomarker for SHH MBs. 


Imvax Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 2b Trial of IGV-001 for Glioblastoma This week, Imvax, Inc., announced the dosing of the first patient in their randomised, US-based, multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2b clinical trial of IGV-001 in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (ndGBM). IGV-001 is a personalised immunotherapy approach, where the patient’s own immune system is recruited to fight the brain tumour. More information on the treatment can be found here.  

TME Pharma Announces 83% of Glioblastoma Patients Still Alive After 12 Months on Study (Median) in GLORIA Expansion Arm Evaluating NOX-A12 in Combination With Radiotherapy and Bevacizumab TME Pharma - a biotechnology company focused on developing novel therapies for the treatment of cancer by targeting the tumour microenvironment (TME) - published an update on survival of newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients evaluating NOX-A12, a CXCL12 inhibitor, in combination with standard of care radiotherapy and anti-VEGF, bevacizumab. After 12 months in the study, 83% of patients (5 of 6) are still alive. With treatment or follow-up for these patients continuing, median overall survival (MOS) has not yet been reached. 


Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are hosting their first Children’s and Young People’s Cancer Research Conference in 2023. CRUK is bringing together oncology researchers to spark new ideas and collaborations and drive progress in children’s and young people’s cancer.  
Richard Gilbertson, Anindita Roy, Anna Philpott, Isidro Cortes-Ciriano and Tariq Enver are developing a programme on the biggest topics in the field taking in the origins of children's and young people’s cancers, immunotherapy and maximising data and drug development. 
The event will take place on the 14th November 2023, at the Royal Society, in London. Register your interest here if you are working in children’s and young people’s cancer research or are interested in learning how to translate your work to make a real difference for children and young people with cancer. 

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