Fredrik Swartling – Mechanisms behind childhood brain tumours

MYC proteins (like MYC or MYCN) are transcription factors and potent mitogens with essential roles in normal brain development. Misexpression of MYC proteins occurs frequently in medulloblastoma, the most common malignant childhood brain tumour of the hindbrain.

MYC or MYCN amplifications in medulloblastoma are strongly correlated with poor prognosis suggesting MYC proteins are clinically relevant targets for brain tumour therapy. MYC proteins are also amplified or overexpressed in childhood pons glioma (DIPG) of the brain stem and in adult glioma, adult malignant brain tumours of the forebrain.

Our research group is exploring how MYC proteins are stabilized in malignant brain tumours with a focus on identifying cells of tumour origin. We further study critical pathways involved in tumour recurrence and new treatments for MYC/MYCN-driven brain tumours. We have generated clinically relevant models for MYC/MYCN-driven brain tumours and we also study a large number of primary cell lines obtained from childhood brain tumour patients.

Read more about our research

Microscop image showing normal cerebellar structure compared with disorganised medulloblastoma structure
      Normal cerebellar structure (left) as compared to the disorganised medulloblastoma structure (right)