1. Brain Tumour North West Tissue Bank

The Brain Tumour North West (BTNW) Tissue Bank

The Brain Tumour North West (BTNW) Tissue Bank plays a major role in NW regional neuro-oncology research collaboration. Providing researchers access to tumour tissue and blood samples is central to advancing the understanding of tumour development and testing potential treatments.

It is testament to the generosity of our patients and their relatives at such a difficult time in their lives, that they overwhelming support the collection of this tissue for research purposes.

The BTNW bank has the approval of the National Research Ethics Service as a Research Tissue Bank and is held under a Human Tissue Authority licence at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in Preston.

The SDNF generously provide funding for the technical and administrative support to run this project. This priceless resource encourages new researchers into the field, builds upon basic research themes and allows their translation into better diagnostic strategies and treatments. http://www.btnw.org.uk/

2. Brain Cancer - Glioblastoma Multiforme

Sydney Driscoll Abstract - Chris Sherer (June 2012)

Cancer is one of the biggest killers internationally, and brain tumours in particular strike largely independent of age, race, sex or lifestyle. Glioblastoma multiforme is the most aggressive form of brain tumour, and typically carries with it a poor prognosis.

Figure – The structure of indole (left), 223α (centre) and 209 (right)

In attempts to overcome the low quality of life and poor prognosis of glioma patients, we are grateful to the Sydney Driscoll Neuroscience Foundation and Brain Tumour North West for funding to support a PhD project aimed at making new drugs to potentially treat this disease.

The privileged structure of the indole nucleus (Fig 1) has been described as 'one of the most ubiquitous heterocyclic structures found in nature'.[1] Due to its planarity, small size and rigidity, the indole nucleus makes an ideal scaffold on which to attach functionality and thus create highly specialised drugs.

This project continues the development of two compounds that have previously been identified as having anticancer activity against glioblastoma cell lines (Fig. 1). 223α is a derivative of indole-3-carbinol, an indole-containing compound whose anti-cancer activity has been known for over 30 years, yet has only recently been shown to be active against glioblastoma cell lines by the Snape group.[2] Compound 209 is a novel compound found by the Snape group to also be active against glioblastoma cell lines.[2]

The versatile Truce-Smiles rearrangement, which has been developed by the Snape group to access a wide range of indoles, will be one of the many reactions used to synthesise a wide range of 223α and 209 derivatives. These derivatives will then be tested in preclinical studies, using colorimetric cell toxicity assays, to try and discern structure-activity relationships for both classes of compounds against a variety of established glioma cell lines and short term cultures. This will hopefully lead to a small series of highly active and rationally designed compounds that can be put forward as potential drug candidates.

[1] D. A. Horton, G. T. Bourne, M. L. Smythe, Chem. Rev. 2003, 103, 893-930.

[2] S. Prabhu, Z. Akbar, F. Harris, K. Karakoula, R. Lea, F. Rowther, T. Warr, T. Snape, Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2013, 21, 1918-1924.

3. "Arterial Spin Labelling Reveals Prolonged Arterial Arrival Time In Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease"