Glioblastoma is an incurable brain cancer that affects both adults and children. Treatment currently consists of surgery followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Although aggressive, this approach increases the average patient’s survival rate to just over a year.
As Canada Research Chair in Brain Cancer Epigenomics, Dr. Marco Gallo is contributing new knowledge of the epigenetic principles that underpin childhood and adult brain cancers like glioblastoma. He and his research team are using clinical samples to perform bulk and single-cell (epi)genomic techniques to identify new mechanisms that lead to aggressive cancer behaviours. They are also using patient-derived primary cultures and xenografts to test hypotheses generated from their -omics data. Understanding how the epigenomes of childhood brain cancers evolve after treatment and finding ways to predict the evolutionary trajectories of these tumours could put us one step ahead of cancer and give us a real chance at preventing relapses.