Gemma Girdler, University of Cambridge

GBM-space: spatial genomic atlas of glioblastoma

The "Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) GBM-space: spatial genomic atlas of glioblastoma project" integrates information from spatial transcriptomics with single-cell RNA and DNA sequencing to understand how brain cancer develops and potentially uncover new targets for treatment development. The team uses the latest genomic techniques to profile GBM tumours to provide unprecedented detail about the states of these cancer cells and their tissue microenvironment.

About Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive type of brain tumour that is currently incurable. It is the most common type of primary malignant brain tumour in adults. The tumours are very varied – they contain a mixture of different cell types, and there is high heterogeneity in the genetic, transcriptional and epigenetic activity of the cells. In addition, different states are highly dynamic in GBM, with cells transitioning from one state to another throughout tumour development as well as in disease relapse after therapy.

The GBM-space: spatial genomic atlas of glioblastoma Project

The project is part of the Wellcome Leap ‘Delta Tissue’ or ‘tissue time machine’ project. It will use high throughput spatial genomic techniques to profile the state of cells and tissues to unprecedented detail about the states of these cancer cells and their tissue microenvironment. It is hoped that this information will help to uncover new targets for treatment development.

The collaboration draws together researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge, the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) and The Francis Crick Institute. It will characterise and catalogue cell type, developmental trajectory, interactions, features, form and functions to enable prediction of the transition between states.

Approach

To understand the forces that drive the cell changes seen in GBM tumours, the team comprehensively characterise the cells and molecules of the tumour tissue in 2D and 3D.

Sanger Institute scientists use spatial genomic methods to can map the intracellular signals and interactions that influence the tumour cells. The initial focus is to understand immune cells and their role in GBM by profiling neurosurgery samples from 50 patients receiving treatment at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Sanger people

Photo of Dr Omer Bayraktar

Dr Omer Bayraktar

Group Leader

Photo of Prof David Rowitch, FMedSci

Prof David Rowitch, FMedSci

Head of Paediatrics at the University of Cambridge and Honorary Faculty at the Sanger Institute

Photo of Dr Oliver Stegle

Dr Oliver Stegle

Associate Faculty in the Cellular Genetics Programme

Photo of Sam Behjati

Sam Behjati

Group Leader and Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow

External Contributors

Photo of Professor James Briscoe

Professor James Briscoe

The Francis Crick Institute

Photo of Mr Richard Mair

Mr Richard Mair

Cambridge University Hospitals

Photo of Adam Young

Adam Young

Cambridge University Hospitals

Photo of Dr Harry Bulstrode

Dr Harry Bulstrode

Cambridge University Hospitals and The Francis Crick Institute

Photo of Professor David Rowitch

Professor David Rowitch

Department of Paediatrics, University of Cambridge

Photo of Professor Oliver Stegle

Professor Oliver Stegle

Division of Computational Genomics and Systems Genetics, DKFZ

Affiliated Sites