Every five hours an Australian is diagnosed with brain cancer, a devastating illness that kills more children in Australia than any other disease and more people under 40 than any other cancer.
Currently, we lack effective treatments for many brain cancers, making this a terminal diagnosis for many patients. The major challenge is that resistance to treatment always occurs and is poorly understood.
In the Brain Cancer Research Laboratory, Dr Jim Whittle, Dr Saskia Freytag, and Dr Sarah Best are working to improve the diagnosis for brain cancer patients using advanced diagnostics, as well as developing new models to understand resistance, and investigating novel ways to treat brain cancer.
Unravelling the complexities of adult glioma.
1) Characterisation of the heterogeneous glioma tumour microenvironment at single cell spatial resolution
Moffet et al., biorvix 2023: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.03.13.531204v1
2) Adaptation of new methods
Flow Cytometry protocol for all brain cell types
CNVkit for GeoMx data: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2023.03.13.531204v1
We use a variety of spatial technologies to investigate the tumour microenvironment, including transcriptomics and metabolomics, to better understand the architecture of glioma.
Venture Grant funding: ‘Brightest cancer researchers’: WEHI teams awarded new funding grants
Team members: Jurgen Kriel, Joel Moffet, Lutz Freytag, Tianyao Lu
The lab uses a variety of genomic techniques with a strong focus on technologies that can resolve cellular complexity, such as single cell transcriptomics, spatial transcriptomics, Nanostring and MIBIscope.
Project resource: GLIMMER funding
Team members: Oluwaseun Fatunla, Montana Spiteri
Our lab is developing a strong foundation of pre-clinical models to study glioma development in immune-competent systems with an intact blood brain barrier.
Team member: Shannon Oliver
Our lab generates patient derived models (eg. neuropshere, and patient derived xenografts) to test new anti-cancer agents and combinations.
Team members: Adam Valkovic, Zac Moore, Montana Spiteri
Our lab is intimately involved with the Australia-first perioperative clinical trial program for brain cancer, and is leading the translational research for these studies.
Team member: Rob Tobler
Correct brain development is critically dependent on genetic and environmental cues and signals. When the process goes wrong it can result in malformations of cortical development and cause severe epilepsy, often requiring surgical resection of the affected brain regions. Exploiting technologies that allow the characterization of individual cells, Saskia, and her collaborators at MCRI are investigating how epilepsy arises.
We are motivated to equip the next generation of scientists, bringing together biologists, clinicians and bioinformaticians to work on highly multi-disciplinary projects.
We collaborate extensively within The Brain Cancer Centre providing biological, clinical and bioinformatics support.