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Studying how ‘bubbles’ released by glioblastoma (brain) tumours enable them to grow and spread

  • Researcher: Dr Kasper Rouschop
  • Institution: Maastricht University, Netherlands
  • Award Amount: £207,137 for 3 years from 1st January 2016
  • Cancer Type: Brain Cancer
Studying how ‘bubbles’ released by glioblastoma (brain) tumours enable them to grow and spread
Dr Kasper Rouschop is studying how 'bubbles' released by glioblastoma (brain) cancer cells encourage blood vessels to grow into the tumour.

Within tumors, areas exist that are exposed to very low levels of oxygen as it is used up by the rapidly growing cells. These are known as 'hypoxic regions' and they contribute to drug and radiotherapy resistance. They also allow the tumour to progress and grow by stimulating new blood vessel development which bring in food supplies, take away waste products, delivers new oxygen to relieve hypoxia and allow cancer cells to enter the blood stream and start secondary tumours elsewhere in the body, known as metastasis.

Dr Rouschop told us "In part, the hypoxic cells facilitate these effects. Recently we identified vesicles, small 'bubbles,' that are involved in the release of factors that promote blood vessel growth. Now we are trying to determine how these vesicles are created, pinpoint what their role is in tumor progression and identify their mechanism of action."

He concluded "We anticipate that the results of this research will enable us to evaluate whether targeting these particular bubbles could be a potential new way to reduce the growth of brain tumours. Our approach is highly innovative and is based on our previous identification of “bubbles” that are specifically released by hypoxic tumour cells. Without the support of Worldwide Cancer Research, evaluation of this promising approach would not be possible.”
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