Cell self-destruction and petitions

6 min read

Brain Tumour Research has launched a petition calling on the Government to ring-fence £110 million of current and new funding to kick-start an increase in the national investment in brain tumour research to £35 million a year by 2028 and bring brain tumours in line with the spend on cancers of the breast, bowel, lung and leukaemia. Sign the petition here for it to be considered for debate in Parliament and help get brain tumour research the funding it needs to improve patient outcomes.  


Researchers leverage cell self-destruction to treat brain tumours. A team of researchers at Columbia University have found that glioblastoma tumour cells are particularly sensitive to ferroptosis - a type of cell death that can be triggered by removing certain amino acids from the diet. By depriving animal models of cysteine and methionine through a customised diet, they found that glioblastoma cells were significantly more likely to die via ferroptosis. The study published in Nature Communications, also found that the diet made chemotherapy drugs more apt at initiating programmed cell death, meaning that very low doses were able to achieve a more potent effect than before. These results support using a cysteine and methionine deprivation diet as a non-invasive method for improving the efficacy of ferroptotic treatments and survival of glioma patients.  

Proteasome inhibitors have therapeutic potential for tumours associated with neurofibromatosis type 2. Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is an inherited disorder caused by an inactive NF2 tumour suppressor gene and leads to schwannoma and meningioma tumours.  This study, published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology, leveraged data from previous high-throughput drug screening in NF2 preclinical models to identify a class of compounds that targets the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway (UPP). In vivo treatment of mouse models with ixazomib or TAK-243 (UPP inhibitors) revealed delayed tumour growth, suggesting that proteasomal pathway inhibitors could be a promising new treatment strategy for NF2 patients.  

A team at Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Plymouth University, under the leadership of Dr David Parkinson, are also investigating possible therapeutic options for NF2-related tumours, you can read more about their recent breakthrough using TEAD palmitoylation inhibitors, VT1 and VT2 here.  


Dose-dependent efficacy of bevacizumab (BEV) in recurrent glioblastoma. For patients with recurrent GBM, researchers found that a low dose regimen of BEV was associated with prolonged overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) compared to the standard dose regimen. The lower dose group had prolonged median PFS (5.89 months versus 3.22 months for those on standard dose) and OS (10.23 months versus 6.28 months). The study, published in Journal of Neuro-Oncology, concluded that lower dose schedules may be a better and more cost-effective option for patients with recurrent GBM, and that lower costs might provide more equitable access to this very important palliative drug. 


Surgical strategies for intracranial meningioma in the molecular era. As researchers’ and clinicians’ understanding of meningiomas and their classification has evolved, this review explores how this new knowledge may influence overall treatment decisions and the role of surgery, and suggest that an understanding of the molecular and epigenetic features of meningiomas is critical to individualised post-operative decision-making, including the interval for follow-up visits and imaging, for each patient. 


Postdoc opportunity in brain cancer research at Cardiff University An exciting and attractive opportunity for an experienced Research Associate in Brain Cancer Research is available at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute at Cardiff University School of Biosciences.  

The successful candidate will join the Astroglia Cell Biology Group to work on a multi-disciplinary, MRC-funded project leveraging multi-OMICS approaches, advanced non-linear optical imaging methods, and state-of-the-art in vivo and 3D in vitro models to investigate the functions of protein synthesis and proteostasis for stemness and cell plasticity in glioblastoma. The project is a joint collaboration between Dr Florian Siebzehnrubl, Prof Paola Borri (both Cardiff), and Dr Julien Licchesi (Bath). 

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