Brain Tumour Research

Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence

The University of Plymouth’s Brain Tumour Research team, led by Professor C. Oliver Hanemann, are members of one of four Brain Tumour Research Centres of Excellence throughout the UK, with whom they closely work, supported by the charity Brain Tumour Research. The Centre of Excellence is based at the University’s flagship Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine (ITSMED).

Low-grade brain tumours

Our team are leaders in the investigation of low-grade brain tumours, which are usually slow-growing and frequently affect children and young adults. Such tumours can be just as devastating as malignant tumours and can bring equally dangerous and debilitating effects to patients by causing neurological conditions including loss of balance, weakness, cognitive problems, poor hearing, epilepsy and personality changes.

Our research

The PUPSMD Brain Tumour Research team’s work focuses on identifying and understanding the mechanisms that make a cell become cancerous and exploring ways in which to halt or reverse this process.

We are working to find new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for low-grade brain tumours, to test new drugs and to investigate how existing drugs could be re-purposed as therapies for brain tumours.

This research is facilitated using a number of complementary methods including the use of primary cell models and culturing techniques, and is driven by both hypothesis and omic discovery approaches (particularly genomics and proteomics).

Current areas of specific research activity include:

  • Mechanisms for how hypoxia contributes to tumour development
  • Setting international standard for biomarker development in Neurofibromatosis
  • Defining new drug targets in merlin-deficient brain tumours
  • Investigating use of combination therapy through research into brain tumour microenvironment and tumour immunology


This is vital work, as the only treatments currently available for these brain tumours are invasive surgery and/or radiotherapy.

Collaborations

Our Centre’s research is supported by a range of successful collaborations including with Imperial College and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer centre, and we are part of the International REiNS consortium (Response Evaluation in Neurofibromatosis and Schwannomatosis).

Biobanking

Our research is supported and enabled by our established neurofibromatosis and meningioma biobanks and a developing low-grade glioma biobank, which include matched blood samples. 

The Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence is part of the University of Plymouth’s Institute for Translational and Stratified Medicine (ITSMED) and Biomedical Research Group.

Our team

The University of Plymouth’s Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence comprises researchers with molecular, cellular, biomedical and clinical expertise.

Meet our team and collaborators

Publications

Stepanova DS, Semenova G, Kuo YM, Andrews AJ, Ammoun S, Hanemann CO, Chernoff J (2017) An Essential Role for the Tumor-Suppressor Merlin in Regulating Fatty Acid Synthesis Cancer Res 77, (18) 5026-5038

Provenzano L, Ryan Y, Hilton DA, Lyons-Rimmer J, Dave F, Maze EA, Adams CL, Rigby-Jones R, Ammoun S, Hanemann CO (2017) Cellular prion protein (PrPC) in the development of Merlin-deficient tumours Oncogene 36, (44) 6132-6142

Mindos T, Dun XP, North K, Doddrell RD, Schulz A, Edwards P, Russell J, Gray B, Roberts SL, Shivane A, Mortimer G, Pirie M, Zhang N, Pan D, Morrison H, Parkinson DB (2017) Merlin controls the repair capacity of Schwann cells after injury by regulating Hippo/YAP activity J Cell Biol. 216 (2) 495-510.

Find out more about our published work

CAMPAIGN: Plymouth University Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence

Around 16,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with a brain tumour. We're working with Brain Tumour Research to improve research and treatment.

We're one of four universities in the UK working with the charity to improve the treatment and outcomes of brain tumours.

About our campaign

OPINION - Brain tumours under the spotlight of parliament

It has taken persistence to get to the point when underfunding for research into brain tumours is discussed by our politicians. It will take more commitment and energy to drive the momentum forward to a point where we will start to see a difference

Read more from Oliver

 

Contact us

For general enquiries, please contact Nicola Hillary, Secretary to Chair of Clinical Neurobiology.

Telephone: +441752 437419

Address: R3TA6A, John Bull Building, Plymouth Science Park, Research Way, PL6 8BU.