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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Blizard Institute researchers take innovative approach to tackling glioblastoma

Dr Claire Vinel in Professor Silvia Marino's Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at the Blizard Institute will take a novel approach to studying brain tumours by investigating communication between glioblastomas and muscles in the body.

Claire Vinel

“We’re on the brink of unlocking a whole new world of potential treatments for glioblastoma patients, and my work is at the forefront of this exciting field. By taking a holistic approach and considering the impact of muscle health on tumour growth, we could offer patients a chance at a better quality of life and new hope for a cure” – Dr Claire Vinel

This research, funded by The Brain Tumour Charity, aims to understand how glioblastoma brain tumours and muscles interact. It hopes to discover new treatments that could improve patient’s quality of life.

Those diagnosed with glioblastoma often have muscle loss and it is believed that the tumour could influence muscle function and that muscle function could also influence the tumour.

More than 3,000 people are diagnosed with a glioblastoma in the UK each year. These are aggressive brain tumours with typically 12-15 months survival after diagnosis.

Treatment options for glioblastoma are limited and these tumours are notoriously difficult to treat which is why novel treatments need to be explored.

Led by Dr Claire Vinel, researchers will grow brain, glioblastoma and muscle tissues to explore if different chemicals produced during muscle contraction can have effects on the glioblastoma cells. Research will also explore if chemicals released by the brain tumour have effects on the muscles.

This project has the potential to help patients with glioblastoma, their families, and healthcare professionals. Understanding the changes that occur in the muscles of glioblastoma patients could help predict severe outcomes and prepare people diagnosed.

It is hoped that this research will lead to the development of new drugs that have anti-tumour properties. This could give rise to new treatment options and drugs that would help improve quality of life for those living with a glioblastoma diagnosis.

Dr Claire Vinel said: “Most of the research into glioblastoma focuses on the tumour itself, which ignores the effect that the tumour has on the rest of the body. Many cancers, including glioblastoma have been associated with muscle damage, but in the case of this brain tumour, very little is known about the muscle damage.

“So my work aims to understand the relationship between the muscle and the tumour, in particular the molecules produced by the tumour which act on the muscles, and vice versa.

“Molecules that can be used to limit or reverse muscle damage could be used to increase muscle function and therefore improve the quality of life of patients. We also hope that by identifying molecules with anti-tumour properties that we will be a step closer to novel treatments for glioblastoma.”

Dr Claire Vinel

Dr Claire Vinel is a researcher with expertise in muscle physiology and glioblastoma. Her fellowship in Professor Silvia Marino's Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence is funded by a Future Leaders grant from The Brain Tumour Charity. She has a strong track record of publications in high impact journals and extensive experience in the establishment and characterisation of primary lines and pluripotent stem cells, as well as in the generation of 3D models. Dr Vinel has also developed a multidisciplinary research network that comprises leaders in brain tumours and skeletal muscle research.



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