Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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ICR Science and Medical Imaging Competition Prize Rosettes

Lab-grown cells shed light on brain tumour development

27 April 2021

Prize Rosettes

These striking rosettes are created from neuroepithelial cells – a special type of precursor cell from which the brain and spinal cord develop. The structures in this image have been grown in the lab from human stem cells in order to shed light on the origins of brain tumours. Right now, a quarter of people diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumour will survive for a year and only around one in twenty will make it to five years, so new approaches for treatment are urgently needed. It’s not ethically or practically possible to follow the process of brain tumour development in humans, so researchers have developed this cell-based approach as a substitute. By studying the intricate details of how these cells grow under normal conditions and searching for faulty genes and molecules that trigger them into becoming cancerous, researchers hope to find life-saving new ideas for treating deadly brain tumours.

Written by Kat Arney

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