Investigating the functional heterogeneity of medulloblastoma to inform strategies to sensitise tumours to existing therapies.

Until recently, population-based techniques have dominated biomedical research, masking the meaningful heterogeneity present within a tumour, by ‘averaging out’ the detail [1]. We now know that this heterogeneity underpins resistance to treatment [2, 3] and that genetically identical cells have been shown to display different fates in response to the same drug, due to stochastic variation in relevant signaling pathways [3].
Tumours of the brain and nervous system, such as medulloblastoma (MB), are a leading cause of cancer-related death in infants and children [4]. The 5-year survival rate is 70%, although for patients with the most aggressive diagnosis, Group 3 (G3), this drops to 50% [6]. Also, the problem of debilitating late effects impacts on the quality of life of childhood cancer survivors. Over 60% of survivors develop chronic health conditions [5] such as peripheral neuropathy [6], which impacts on motor/sensory processes as a result of vincristine treatment.

Grant Award – Kidscan Student Placement (2017 – 2018)

Funding Award – £2000.00

Funding Awarded to – Dr Caroline Topham

Research Location – University of Salford

Lead Researcher – Dr Caroline Topham