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International Brain Tumour Awareness Week 2019 In the Matrix

Understanding more about glioblastoma brain tumours by growing cells in the lab on a 3D synthetic fibre network

26 October 2019

In the Matrix

In cancer, both the makeup of the tumour itself and its environment, including neighbouring cells and the extracellular matrix, the surrounding network of proteins and fibres, are important in determining how the disease progresses. For glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a devastating form of brain cancer characterised by highly invasive glioblastoma initiating cells (GICs), the extracellular matrix is especially important for understanding how these cells spread so rapidly through the brain. Traditional cell cultures can’t provide a realistic model of how GICs behave, so researchers have recently developed a sophisticated 3D network of synthetic fibres on which GICs can be implanted, to better study how they move and spread: pictured is a neurosphere, a cluster of neural stem cells, embedding into this artificial network. This system could help scientists learn more about how GICs migrate, and eventually provide a better system in which to screen potential drugs targeting this process in GBM.

Today marks the start of International Brain Tumour Awareness Week

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

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