Increasing the Efficiency of Brain Tumour Research

Increasing the Efficiency of Brain Tumour Research

Equipment funded by Weston Park Cancer Charity has been pivotal in testing novel brain tumour treatments.


Thanks to the dedicated support of our local community, corporate partners, donors and volunteers, we are currently funding 20 innovative research projects, including projects to improve treatments for breast cancer, bone cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and brain tumours.


This includes funding specialist research equipment, in order to make an important and direct contribution to ensuring Weston Park Cancer Charity remains at the forefront of cancer care.


Below, Royal College of Surgeons Clinical Research Fellow and Neurosurgical Registrar 1, 2, Ola Rominiyi explains how equipment funded by Weston Park Cancer Charity has been pivotal in testing novel treatments in patient-derived 3D brain tumour models.


“We are providing patients in South Yorkshire with opportunities to enhance brain tumour research, by using some of the tumour tissue taken at the time of surgery to make 3D models of the disease – which required some new specialist equipment.


“We are delighted that the equipment has been funded by Weston Park Cancer Charity, and we are already starting to see how it will benefit brain tumour research in Sheffield.


“Brain tumours are responsible for the loss of 5,000 lives every year in the UK. Of these, glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive cancer.


“Currently, we use surgery to remove as much of the tumour as safely possible, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. But in spite of this, most people diagnosed with a glioblastoma will only survive between one and two years. So there is an urgent need to find better treatment strategies for the future.


“Our research uses part of the brain tumour taken during surgery to grow glioblastoma cells in the laboratory. We grow the cells within a new 3D scaffold, which enables much more contact between individual cells than traditional 2D methods, and, crucially, the 3D method is better at predicting which new treatments are more likely treat cancer effectively in patients.


“The equipment provided by Weston Park Cancer Charity has helped increase the efficiency and accuracy of generating our 3D models. The electronic pipette and aspirator provide unrivalled accuracy and consistency when generating the 3D glioblastoma models and completing experiments. This means that we can be much more confident in the final results and the promising combination therapies that we are testing.


“Additionally, this equipment massively reduces the number of repetitive movements required to set up an experiment, therefore lowering the risk of repetitive strain injury for our team.


“The microplate shaker allows us to get cells out of the 3D model at the end of an experiment so that we can determine if and, importantly, how a treatment has worked.


“We are driven and excited by the possibility that, one day, the combination treatments we’re researching in the laboratory may be able to benefit patients in South Yorkshire and beyond.”