Glioblastoma treatment usually includes surgery, radiation and then chemotherapy. Unfortunately, these tumours almost inevitably adapt to evade the anti-cancer drugs that at first seemed to shrink them. New evidence shows that glioblastoma cells can change which genes they express, and when, in response to environmental stress. This stress could be being attacked with chemotherapy drugs. These are epigenetic changes because the cancer cells don’t change the genes themselves, instead, they seem to be chemically modifying their genes in response to this stress, covering them or uncovering them as necessary to survive. A new paper highlights a mechanism by which the tumour potentially adapts to our treatment methods and how, by understanding these evasion methods that the tumour utilises, we can more effectively neutralise them.
The full paper is in Nature Genetics
The role of epigenetics is key to the research undertaken at our Queen Mary University of London research centre and there is an opportunity for a graduate with at least an upper second class honours degree, an interest in Brain Tumourigenesis and experience in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology or Computer Science to join the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence led by Prof Silvia Marino at the Blizard Institute. They will then form part of the team focused on the mechanistic characterisation of tumour defining epigenetic changes in glioblastoma subgroups and will study how they can inform precision targeting of these neoplasms.