null Brain tumour researchers honoured by Québec Science magazine

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Source: McGill Reporter and Québec Science. Recent work by Dr. Claudia Kleinman, an investigator at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital, and Dr. Nada Jabado, clinician-scientist in the Child Health and Human Development Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), has been hailed as one of Québec Science's top ten discoveries of 2020. Each year this scientific magazine honours the best scientific breakthroughs in Quebec, thus paying tribute to its researchers.

The team, along with Dr. Michael Taylor of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), discovered that several types of highly aggressive and, ultimately, fatal pediatric brain tumours originate as a result of stalled development of progenitor cells in the pons and forebrain. The genetic event that triggers the disease happens in the very earliest phases of cellular development, most likely prenatal. Rather than developing normally, the cells’ progress is halted and they transform into malignancies. With this understanding of the underlying mechanisms, the search can begin for the means to unblock the arrested development of the cells.

Drs. Claudia Kleinman, Nada Jabado, Kevin Petrecca and Charles Couturier (left to right)
Drs. Claudia Kleinman, Nada Jabado, Kevin Petrecca and Charles Couturier (left to right)

Paired with this work as Discovery of the Year #10, “Incursion inédite dans les tumeurs du cerveau” (Groundbreaking work on brain tumours), is a study led by researchers at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital) of McGill University. This team, led by Drs. Kevin Petrecca, a neurosurgeon and brain cancer researcher who is also affiliated with the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience Program (BRaIN) at the RI-MUHC, and Charles Couturier, a neurosurgery resident, detected for the first time what they describe as a progenitor glioblastoma stem cell (GSC) – a cell type from which all other cancer cells develop. After identifying molecular vulnerabilities in progenitor GSCs, the researchers targeted these and found that progenitor GSC survival and proliferation decreased as a result. In preclinical disease models, this reduced tumor growth and increased survival.

YOU CAN VOTE for this two-part discovery as part of the Prix du public Québec Science Découverte de l’année 2020 contest. Voting ends on February 8, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

Québec Science

January 20, 2021

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Two McGill-led brain cancer studies among top 10 discoveries in Quebec for 2020 (McGill Reporter)
Cellular origins of pediatric brain tumours identified (RI-MUHC website)