Brain cancer

One of the major focus areas of our work is understanding glioblastoma, an aggressive, invasive and deadly form of brain cancer. This type of cancer has no cure, with survival rates being only 9 – 18 months on average after diagnosis. Research providing deeper understanding of glioblastoma pathology and the mechanisms of tumour pathogenesis is vital.

Our lab focuses on a purinergic receptor and its role in glioblastoma proliferation called P2X7R. The research we do is based on real life patient samples (obtained during surgery or tumour resection, with prior patient consent) with a focus on the cellular and molecular basis of tumour growth and invasion. Our ultimate aim is to develop targeted therapies for glioblastoma eradication.

Our research is highly collaborative involving Melbourne Health, Alfred Health and the University of Melbourne bringing neuroscientists, neurosurgeons and neurologists together with the aim of understanding glioblastoma pathogenesis and proliferation.

In 2020, our group developed a cost-effective and reliable protocol for studying primary human glioblastoma tissue in the laboratory to advance traditional cell lines and animal models (see article below). We obtain surgically resected tissue for culturing using the Alfred Brain Tumour Bio-databank, situated within the Alfred Research Alliance Precinct in which we partner with the Department of Neurosurgery who manage this critical research infrastructure.

In further work, we have used a synthetically manufactured compound known as AZ10606120 as a potent and specific inhibitor of P2X7R in primary human glioblastoma cultures and found a substantial reduction in the number of tumour cells (see article below).

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L – R: Ms Katrina Kan, Dr Mastura Monif and Mr Matthew Drill

News highlights

  • New technique for analysing aggressive brain tumour tissue. Find out more
  • Potent glioma tumour inhibitor discovery. Find out more
  • 2022 Rare Disease Day. View the video below.