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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

The Everest Centre for Research into Paediatric Low Grade Brain Tumours

Congratulations to Professor Denise Sheer who will be collaborating in a ground-breaking £5 million investment for research into Paediatric Low Grade Brain Tumours



Every year, around 500 children and young people are diagnosed with a brain tumour. Approximately half of these are low grade tumours, which can be fatal because of where the tumour grows.

The Everest Centre is being financed by The Brain Tumour Charity with money raised by the family and friends of Toby Ritchie, who was diagnosed with a low grade brain tumour at the age of five. The centre will fund several, vital research projects that will help us understand more about low grade paediatric brain tumours and trial new treatments.

Group leader Dr David Jones, based at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and the Hopp Children's Cancer Centre (KiTZ) at the NCT (National Centre for Tumour Diseases) in Heidelberg, will be working closely with researchers in both London and Germany. They aim to make new discoveries about low grade brain tumours and translate them into new clinical treatments

The Team

Dr David Jones (DKFZ, Germany) Prof Denise Sheer (Queen Mary University London)
Prof Stefan Pfister (DKFZ/ Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany) Prof JP Martinez-Barbera (University College London)
Prof Olaf Witt (DKFZ/ Heidelberg University Hospital, Germany) Dr Darren Hargrave (UCL/ Great Ormond Street Hospital, London)
Dr David Capper ((Charité Berlin, Germany) Dr Thomas Jacques (UCL/ Great Ormond Street Hospital, London)

The Work Streams

Each work stream will be led by a researcher in London as well as one in Germany. This will ensure that that knowledge is shared across the work streams as well as across the wider team.

Molecular Diagnosis

The team will investigate what changes in the tumour cause it to behave abnormally. They will also be looking at how a relapsed or recurring tumour has changed from the original tumour characteristics. They hope to use this information in two main ways: to discover which of the brain's normal cells each abnormal cell type arises from; and to help clinicians chose the best treatment to target each individual's tumour.

Model Development

In the past researchers have found it difficult to make good models in the laboratory that mimic children's low grade brain tumours. This team has brought together expertise in creating different types of laboratory model and will use new models to test potential therapeutic compounds.

LOGGIC Clinical Trial

LOGGIC stands for LOw Grade Glioma In Children. This clinical trial will be one of the first of its kind because it will define the specific molecular traits of the child's low grade glioma and based on this will assign the best treatment available. A key innovation of this trial is that it is not only looking at how long a child survives the treatment, but how well. This is one of the first trials where quality of life is one of the key things that will be assessed.

Oncogene Induced Senescence and the Tumour Micro-environment

Oncogene Induced Senescence (OIS) describes a scenario where a genetic change makes the tumour slow its growth or stop growing all together. The tumour micro-environment describes the interactions between the tumour and the other normal cells around it, this can be other brain cells or immune cells. By studying OIS and the tumour micro-environment the researchers aim to find ways of slowing tumour growth in a therapeutic way.

The Everest Centre was launched at the Blizard Institute on 27th June, attended by Toby’s parents Rob and Tanya Ritchie, their family and friends, researchers, and The Brain Tumour Charity.  Watch here how Rob Ritchie, and his family and friends raised the funds for The Everest Centre: