Brain Tumours Team

Overview

The essential feature of the West of Scotland Neuro-Oncology Group is that all our research projects originate in the clinic. By continuously examining our patients’ experiences and outcomes we identify the key research questions that form the basis of our scientific and clinical research programme. And through regular cross-discipline meetings at which ongoing and future projects are presented and discussed, we ensure that studies are clinically relevant from the beginning to the end.

Aiming to improve outcomes for patients with brain tumours

Focus

Clinical trials

As well as recruiting patients to national and international randomised phase 3 trials, Glasgow is currently recruiting to the following phase 1 clinical trials in glioblastoma, being the lead centre for the first two of these:

  • IMA-950 is a new vaccine that is designed to stimulate patients' immune systems to act against their tumour. This is a CR-UK sponsored trial for which Roy Rampling is the Chief Investigator.
  • OPARATIC is another CR-UK sponsored trial that is testing the combination of olaparib (a PARP inhibitor) and temozolomide chemotherapy in patients with recurrent glioblastoma. Anthony Chalmers is the Chief Investigator.
  • GALA-5 is a study looking at fluorescence-guided resection of glioblastoma with insertion of chemotherapy wafers, prior to conventional chemoradiotherapy.
  • NBT is a national brain tumour study which is exploring genetic and other potential risk factors for developing brain tumours.

Laboratory research

The Translational Radiation Biology group led by Anthony Chalmers is part of the Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Glasgow and is located in the CR-UK Beatson Institute for Cancer Research. The main aims of the group are to develop and test new drugs that increase the effectiveness of current treatments (especially radiotherapy), and to develop better laboratory models of glioblastoma so that the likelihood of these new treatments being effective in patients can be tested with greater accuracy. Specific research projects include:

  • Testing the ability of drugs that inhibit DNA repair pathways (such as PARP inhibitors) to increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy against the tumour without damaging healthy brain tissue. (Shafiq Ahmed, Ross Carruthers, Willie Stewart)
  • Working with the Beatson Drug Development Programme and GEMRIC to develop and test new drugs that reduce the capacity of glioblastoma cells to invade into the normal brain. (Lesley Glimour, Nati Gomez-Roman, Katrina Stevenson)
  • Working with the Neuropathology team to investigate whether the 'tumour microenvironment' causes or contributes to the resistance of glioblastoma to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Possible adverse features of the tumour microenvironment include low oxygen levels, abnormal blood vessels, and nourishment of 'glioma stem cells'. (Sarah Bell, Willie Stewart, Nati Gomez-Roman)
  • Neuropathology research using the Glasgow Brain Tumour Tissue Bank to identify whether the levels of certain molecules in brain tumours can be used to predict how well the tumour will respond to treatment. If a particular molecule is shown to predict a poor outcome, this research will link up with the laboratory studies to identify ways of targeting these molecules. (Willie Stewart, Zoltan Hanzely, Sarah Bell, Ross Carruthers)

Clinical research

  • Investigating whether using advanced radiotherapy techniques (such as Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy) can reduce the risk of damage to the normal brain, and whether this makes a difference to patient's quality of life in the longer term. (Aoife Williamson, Suzie Smith, Allan James, Brian Clark)
  • Testing whether advanced MRI scanning techniques can predict where brain tumours are most likely to recur after radiotherapy, with a view either to intensifying treatment to these areas or reducing treatment to regions of low risk. (Aoife Williamson, John McLean)
  • Investigating the molecular and radiological features of a rare tumour called Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma to identify which features are associated with a good or bad prognosis for the patients. (Willie Stewart, Kirsten Forbes, Allan James, Brian Clark)
  • An evaluation of distress levels and supportive care needs in patients with high grade glioma. (Lorraine Webster)

Groups

Clinical Oncology: Anthony Chalmers, Allan James, Brian Clark, Roy Rampling
Nurse specialists: Mairi Mackinnon, Mary Fraser
Radiographers: Aoife Williamson, Lorraine Webster
Neuropathology: Willie Stewart, Zoltan Hanzely, Sarah Bell, Andres Kulla
Neurosurgery: Laurence Dunn, Likhith Alakandy, Jerome St. George
Neuroradiology: Kirsten Forbes, Donald Hadley, John Mclean, Robin Joseph, Ahmed Iqbal
Translational Radiation Biology: Lesley Gilmour, Katrina Stevenson, Nati Gomez-Roman, Shafiq Ahmed, Ross Carruthers

Associated groups

Glasgow Experimental MRI Centre (GEMRIC): Mhairi Macrae, William Holmes
MRI, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde: John Foster, Claire Currie
Radiotherapy Physics, Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre: Gillian Lamb
Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute: Mike Olson
Beatson Drug Development Programme: Martin Drysdale, Justin Bowers

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