Professor Chris Jones and the impact of COVID-19 on DIPG research, from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
As a world leading expert Professor Chris Jones heads the 'Glioma Team' at the ICR where they concentrate on unraveling the genome and epigenome of paediatric brain tumours. Their aim is to find the genes that drive development of these cancers, and identifying ways to translate these findings into new treatments for children with these tumours.
We thought it would be of interest to put a few questions to Prof Jones about the Covid -19 situation, and how DIPG research is currently being affected in the lab.
The team focuses on paediatric high grade and DIPG - diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma – tumours that continue to have such a dismal clinical outcome. They are part of a major effort to build up the most detailed picture to date of the genome of these aggressive cancers.
As these tumours are rare, Professor Jones has forged many collaborations with other international organisations in order to collect samples that cover the spectrum of potential variations, and to conduct the most comprehensive possible analysis.
Professor Jones’ work has already revealed some significant genetic differences between the adult and child form of the disease, and has highlighted potential new drug targets, that Abbie's Army funding has contributed to considerably.
“There is a real unmet clinical and basic science need in this tumour type, as paediatric high grade gliomas are incredibly resistant to current treatment options, and we really know very little about the underlying biology of the disease,” Professor Jones says.
“Our ambitions within the laboratory are to turn some of our laboratory-based hypotheses into real, molecularly-based treatments for malignant paediatric gliomas, and to see, at last, real progress being made in the survival of children with these dreadful cancers.”