Brain Tumor Day 2022

Structural analysis of Glioblastoma Multiforme Brain Tumour cells, using Soft X-ray Microscopy, help researchers to link DNA damage with cell structure changes

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a fast-growing glioma brain tumour arising from brain cells, called glial cells, and is the most common type of primary malignant brain tumour in adults. The ‘multiforme’ tag, which means ‘highly variable’ points to the fact that GMBs contain a mixture of different types of glial brain cells that interact with normal brain cells such as astrocytes, microglia and cells of the blood vessels. This interaction and diversity of cells contribute to the aggressiveness and complexity of cancer and make GBM very difficult to treat.

The latest research indicates that GBMs are unlikely to develop from fully-formed brain cells but instead develop from Immature cells or stem cells, which suffered DNA damage at some point in their life during their development from stem cells to mature brain cells. Although cancer genomics is providing impressive insights into the mutations that drive cancer progression, it is not yet possible to establish exactly how (which mutations) and where (in which cell types) the first steps toward cancer occur.

In the paper referenced below, Soft X-ray Microscopy is one imaging tool used to help link genetic heterogeneity of primary patient-derived cells with structural features of cryo-preserved cells and open the doors to new insights into GBM.

Structural and elemental changes in glioblastoma cells in situ: complementary imaging with high resolution visible light- and X-ray microscopy

Tanja Ducic, Gayle Woloschak