Modelling paediatric brain tumours in Drosophila

Modelling paediatric brain tumours in Drosophila

Institute: Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Recipient: Associate Professor Helena Richardson
Funding: $400,000 July 2009 to June 2014

Work in the Richardson lab seeks to model paediatric brain tumours in the genetically amenable vinegar fly, Drosophlla.

The Drosophila model represents a genetically amenable system in which to identify and analyse genes involved in cytoskeletal regulation in tumourigenesis, which due to the evolutionary conservation of signalling pathways, cytoskeletal regulators and human disease genes is highly relevant to human cancer (Fortini et al., 2000 J Cell Biol).

This research will reveal important cytoskeletal regulators that are required for brain tumour development and progression.
 
The Richardson team plan to use this model system to readily assess cytoskeletal regulators revealed by studies in mammalian cells and to test and develop new drugs that target the cytoskeleton, in consultation with other investigators.
 
Determining the importance of specific cytoskeletal regulators in models of childhood brain cancers will enable the design of therapeutic strategies to combat this disease and improve the clinical outcome of the children.