Investigating combined drug treatments
Official title: The WINDOW consortium for glioblastoma: targeting intra- and inter-patient heterogeneity
- Lead researcher: Professor Thomas Wurdinger
- Where: VU University Medical Centre, Cancer Centre Amsterdam, Netherlands
- When: October 2017 - September 2022
- Cost: £1.5 million over five years
- Research type: Adult, Glioblastoma (High Grade), Academic, Translational
This collaboration, being led from Amsterdam, will also involve UK researchers from the University of Cambridge, the Sanger Institute and IOTA Pharmaceuticals. They will be looking at existing drugs in different combinations. They have sophisticated software that will analyse already-licensed drugs to see which ones could work together to treat Glioblastoma (GBM).
Researchers will define combinations of 2 or 3 drugs that they predict will work well in combination, they will then use complex lab-based models to test them. Crucially, the team have access to brain tumour samples, from consenting patients, that they can test these drugs on.
Additionally, if any of the models show resistance to the drug combinations the researchers will look for specific traits in the cell that are causing this resistance. They will use a technique called CRISPR to delete these molecular traits and assess if this makes the cells more vulnerable to treatment.
One of the exciting things about this programme of work is that the researchers are using drugs that are already being used by patients. This means that when drug combinations with great promise are identified they can be moved into clinical testing quickly.
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Research is the only way we will discover kinder, more effective treatments and, ultimately, stamp out brain tumours – for good! However, brain tumours are complex and research in to them takes a great deal of time and money.
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