A team of QBI researchers is investigating brain cancer to understand its origin and biology, in order to help the development of new therapies and improve diagnosis. Professor Linda Richards and Dr. Jens Bunt research the mechanisms that normally control cell division, and how these are disrupted in aggressive brain cancers like glioblastoma and embryonic brain tumours.

They focus on the nuclear factor one (NFI) genes, which are potent regulators that turn off cell division during brain development (tumour suppressor genes). Their recent research showed that lower expression of NFI genes is associated with aggressive brain cancers, which have the poorest prognosis. This suggests that normal expression of NFI genes could guard against cancer. 

QBI researchers want to understand what causes a normal brain cell to become cancerous. To do this, their main focus is investigating how disruption of these NFI genes in glial or progenitor cells contributes to the formation of a brain tumour. Conversely, another project involves introducing normal NFI back into cancer cells, to see if this restores the normal mechanisms for control of cell division. 

 

  What is brain cancer?

  Types of brain cancer

  Signs and symptoms of brain cancer

  Diagnosing and treating brain cancer