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Brain cancer

Our researchers have been responsible for making breakthrough discoveries in brain cancer.

For example, scientists at the ICR have worked with colleagues from around the world to better understand the unique genetic pathways that lead to the development of the brain cancer glioma, helping identify what predisposes people to the disease.

Meet our researchers

Our progress against brain cancer


The ICR is one of the world’s leading centres for the study of cancer genetics, with a programme of research aiming to uncover new clues about how genetic factors contribute to the disease.

Recent genetic studies in brain cancer include an important study that uncovered 13 previously undiscovered genetic changes associated with the most common type of brain tumour, glioma, and highlighted differences between the two subtypes, glioblastoma and non-glioblastoma.

The group behind this discovery went on to split glioma into five distinct subtypes, based on their profile.

Clinical trials

Our world-leading clinical research programme also includes studies of brain cancers, including in children. The ICR is a partner in the Tessa Jowell BRAIN-MATRIX study, for example, inspired by the late politician’s experience of glioblastoma.

In childhood cancers, a study led by the ICR’s Professor Louis Chesler has helped uncover genetic mutations associated with relapses of the childhood brain tumour medulloblastoma.

This groundbreaking work found that some children with relapsed disease could benefit from existing drugs. And further work from Professor Chesler’s team has led to the introduction of a new genetic test for children’s cancers, which looks at the sequence of 81 different genes to help personalise treatment for children with a range of cancer types.

Finding new drugs

The ICR is an internationally leading centre in the study of childhood brain cancers including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

Professor Chris Jones and his team have led research with international colleagues and hit on a new drug class which can kill brain cancer cells which carry a specific genetic mutation, for example.

Partnering with industry

Professor Jones’ team has also partnered with the biotechnology company Healx, which specialises in discovering and developing new treatments for rare diseases using artificial intelligence (AI).

By combining their world-leading expertise, they hope to be able to identify drugs which are already in use for other diseases which could be repurposed to treat the DIPG.

Making it count

Our work in childhood cancers is often supported by parent-led charities, whose funds make some of our cutting-edge research possible. With them, we share our vision of making the discoveries that defeat cancers of childhood.

Read the latest updates on our brain cancer research

Meet our researchers

Professor Chris Jones

Find out more about Chris Jones and his team.

Professor Chris Jones

Professor Louis Chesler

Find out more about Louis Chesler and his team.

Professor Louis Chesler