Cellular & Molecular Neuro-oncology

Brain tumours kill more children and adults, under the age of 40, than any other cancer. Despite all we have learnt about the biological nature of ‘cancer’, the incidence of primary brain tumours has risen at an alarming rate over the past few decades, generally bringing with them a poor prognosis.

The complex biology of a brain tumour, in comparison to other cancers, is a major obstacle in the development of new therapies. Unlike other cancers, a significant disadvantage is the vast array of cell types (cellular heterogeneity) present within the brain, hence the diversity of tumour types (there are around 130 different brain and intracranial tumour types). Although primary brain tumours rarely metastasise to distant organs, one of the major biological features of these tumours is diffuse local cellular invasion (aggressive movement of brain tumours into the normal, healthy adjacent brain).

The Cellular and Molecular Neuro-Oncology Research Group, which was established at Portsmouth following the relocation of Professor Geoff Pilkington from King’s College London in 2020, dedicates its research to focusing on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of brain tumour development, and progression of response to therapy.

Our essential research is core-funded, primarily, by a consortium of 22 adult and paediatric brain tumour charities and allied fund raising groups, ‘Brain Tumour Research’. Additional funding is provided by the Dr Hadwen Trust, the Ollie Young Foundation, the Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association, Headcase and Children with Cancer UK. Our research would not be possible if it were not for the efforts of dedicated brain tumour charities. Although the survival times of brain tumour sufferers is poor (e.g. the average survival time of glioblastoma sufferers, with current ‘gold standard’ therapies remains at only 14 months), research into this area reportedly receives less than 0.7% of NCRI recognised funding.

Brain Tumour Research collaborating charities include: Levi’s Star, Ali’s Dream, The Danny Green Fund and fundraising group Taylan’s Project.

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