Research 'Dream Team' to Seek Better Brain Tumour Treatments, Focus on Stem Cells

By Ubelacker, Sheryl | The Canadian Press, February 4, 2016 | Go to article overview

Research 'Dream Team' to Seek Better Brain Tumour Treatments, Focus on Stem Cells


Ubelacker, Sheryl, The Canadian Press


Research 'dream team' to attack brain tumours

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TORONTO - A "dream team" of top Canadian scientists has been named to mount a new attack on aggressive brain cancers in children and adults by focusing on the stem cells that spur their growth.

Dr. Peter Dirks, a neurosurgeon and researcher at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, will head the Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) team, which will employ genomic and molecular profiling technologies to analyze brain cancer stem cells.

"Brain tumours in children and adults contain a small number of cells called stem cells that resist treatment and continually regenerate, driving tumour growth and recurrence after initial responses to treatment," said Dirks, the first scientist to identify cancer stem cells in brain tumours in 2003.

"Our team will conduct multiple analyses of brain cancer stem cells, profiling their biological makeup to identify drugs that are likely to block the uncontrolled growth of the tumours, and carry out clinical trials across Canada to find the safest and most effective drugs to treat these cancers," he said in a statement Thursday.

The researchers will focus on two types of brain tumours: glioblastomas in adults and children, and posterior fossa ependymomas in infants, both of which have limited treatment options and poor survival statistics. Less than 10 per cent of adults live five years following a glioblastoma diagnosis. …

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