Watch Dr Mastura Monif accept her research grant and hear a bit about the project.
Human brain tumours (gliomas) generally afflict young individuals in their 30s-40s with significant implications for the individual, their family, as well as a large burden of disease for the community. Currently there are no cures for high grade gliomas and the conventional therapy on average only improves survival by a few months. Our research focuses on the contribution of the immune system in human brain tumour growth and proliferation. We have previously shown that microglia (brain immune cells) are an integral part of human brain tumours and our aims are to understand if these microglia promote or inhibit tumour growth? In addition, we have been able to show that human brain tumour associated microglia express a specific membrane protein (P2X7 receptor). P2X7R is a channel protein that sits on the membrane of microglia. By inhibiting P2X7R in the laboratory we have been successful in reducing tumour cell numbers. This is a very exciting finding and with support from the Brain Foundation we will be investigating this further with the ultimate aim of hopefully finding effective therapies to combat human brain tumours.