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The Rudy A Menon PhD Studentship: Project Update - Spring/Summer 2021

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Shauna Crampsie is undertaking her gliomatosis cerebri (GC) PhD project here at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) under the expert supervision of Professor Chris Jones. Her project is an international collaboration, bringing together resources and knowledge from research organisations around the world. Her role, and the progress she is making, would simply not be possible without the generous support of The Rudy A Menon Foundation.

Following from the previous update wherein Shauna had just submitted her first year report, she had her assessment in November - which she passed! The following months have been dedicated to expanding the cell lines to further study how GC cells behave. Shauna has been working diligently for months to optimise the protocol for extracting protein from the cell lines, so we can better understand how they grow.

Throughout Covid-19, all three labs involved in this project (The ICR, London, DanaFaber Cancer Institute, Boston, and Bambino Gesu Hospital, Rome) have continued to operate – resulting in the first cases of GC single-cell data returning from Boston recently. Shauna and the team have begun to explore this data and tease out some initial information from our cohort. This has been a bit of a learning curve in analysing the data, but a very enjoyable one as we get to grips with it. Hopefully, as vaccinations are going well in the UK and the US, there may be the opportunity for Shauna to travel later this year to Boston and help with the final cases in the cohort.

We have had three more GC cases since last year and up to three more cell lines from Dr Mara Vinci in Rome, which Shauna is looking forward to working on once they’re sent to the UK. We have also expanded our collaborative links with Dr David Castel in Paris and will be working more closely together in the coming months.

Shauna also has completed some complementary single-cell analysis on the cell lines, and will compare these with the tumour samples to ensure that these rare models accurately reflect the tumours they are cultivated from. Shauna is continuing to characterise the cell lines, expanding to include the new ones. She is striving to get as much of this work done as possible by summer.

It is a really exciting time in the project - where there has been a lot of data collection, we are now beginning to get those results back and are able to explore GC in much more detail. This will lead to, not only results for our project, but hopefully to resources that can be utilised by many labs over the world in due course.

We look forward to sharing details of further progress as the research develops. Thank you once again to The Rudy A Menon Foundation and its supporters for their tireless fundraising and support of this work.

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