North West children’s charity Friends of Rose granted £66k
North West charity, Friends of Rosie, reports encouraging results from a research project investigating the use of immunotherapy to treat childhood brain tumours that are resistant to conventional treatment methods. Results obtained so far and the great potential of this project have now led to a further £66,500 being granted by the charity to continue this research for a second year.
The charity supports new and innovative childhood cancer research projects in the North West, helping get novel research ideas off the ground that could make all the difference to children with cancer.
Over the last year they have funded a £65,000 project, conducted at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre facilities on the Christie campus in south Manchester, to research the use of immunotherapy to treat childhood brain tumours that have a poor prognosis.
Dr Gray Kueberuwa, lead Friends of Rosie funded researcher, reveals the exciting findings from year one of this research, “Within tumours there is a constant battle. The immune system attempts to destroy tumours, while tumours attempt to adapt and evolve to survive this attack. In children that develop tumours, the immune system is losing the battle. Immune cells are often suppressed or “switched off” by the tumour cells.
“The past twelve months of this project have focused on four key areas. Firstly, we needed to adapt our methods to the use of small numbers of cells.”
The next stage of the project was to better understand the component parts of the TILs using a process called cytometry. Says Dr Kueberuwa, “During this project we were able to use the most advanced technology to analyse the cells. This allowed us to identify the immune cells present in the brain tumour samples in a way that has not been possible before now.”
Promising first year findings led to the Friends of Rosie Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) recommending a further year of funding for this project.
Professor John Hickman, SAB Chair, said: “The results we’ve seen so far are very exciting as they provide evidence that TILs could have the potential to be used as a therapy for rare childhood brain tumours. This second year of funding is needed to obtain more samples to investigate whether the results seen so far are reproducible in other types of childhood brain tumours, particularly those with very few treatment options.”
In May 2017, 20-month old Gracie Greenwood lost her battle with cancer after a nine-month fight against an extremely rare brain tumour. Says Gracie’s mum, Lauren, “I wish something like this had of been available when Gracie was diagnosed. It would be amazing if there was a treatment for children in the future so other parents would not have to suffer the horrific pain of losing a child.”
In addition to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and potentially Birmingham Children’s Hospital will be joining the study to help enable access to more tumour samples.
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