Glioblastoma is the most malignant and common form of brain cancer. In people with the condition, cancer cells (green) rapidly spread through the brain tissue (blue) by travelling along brain structures such as blood vessels (red). This makes it difficult to fully remove the tumours by surgery, and there are no effective treatments. Life expectancy is just over one year. “If we can target this spread, it may be possible to make therapies more effective,” says Simona Parrinello of the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (CSC). Parrinello hopes to identify what makes the cancer cells different from ‘normal’ brain cells, and how they interact with blood vessels to spread. In collaboration with Vincenzo de Paola, who leads the CSC’s Neuroplasticity and Disease group, her team use a microscope technique called intravital imaging to watch these interactions and see the cells spread through the brains of living mice in ‘real time’.
Read more about Parrinello’s research, and her recent Programme Foundation Award from Cancer Research UK worth £1.5 million for this work.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.