Brain tumour research

Brain tumour research

The brain tumour research programme has several active areas of research including:

  • Multi-modal imaging biomarkers of brain tumours
  • Glioma growth and biology
  • Biology of brain metastasis and brain invasion

All patients undergoing surgery are invited to participate in the tumour research programme.  With appropriate research consent, tumour and blood samples obtained at surgery as part of routine clinical practice are stored in the Walton Research Tissue Bank. In collaboration with basic scientists at the University of Liverpool, University of Wolverhampton, University of Central Lancashire and elsewhere, tissue and bloods from the tumour bank are used to investigate the relationship between tumour biology, response to treatment and outcome in various tumour types.

Key Staff:

Mr Michael Jenkinson (Adult neuro-oncology surgeon)
Mr Andrew Brodbelt (Adult neuro-oncology surgeon)
Dr Kumar Das (Neuro-radiologist)
Dr Nitika Rathi (Consultant Neuropathologist)
Mr Khaja Syed (Tissue bank manager)


Walton Research Tissue Bank

Brain Tumours

Many brain tumours prove difficult to treat and finding new therapies is essential for improved outcome.  To this end, researchers in Liverpool and elsewhere are dedicated to developing a greater understanding of the biological behaviour and molecular and cell biological characteristics of brain tumours. Providing access to tumour tissue and blood samples is central to such research and will facilitate the development and testing of new treatments. 

Research Tissue Bank

The management and staff of The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust actively support and encourage neuro-oncology research. In order to facilitate and maximise the use of tissue donations, in 2010 we sought approvals to establish a Research Tissue Bank at The Walton Centre.  The Walton Research Tissue Bank gained full approval of the National Research Ethics Service [11/WNo03/2] and is held under a Human Tissue Authority Licence at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust.  The Walton Research Tissue Bank became operational in April 2011, being fully supported by Trust Management and facilitated by clinical and pathology staff.  Recently, the Walton Research Tissue Bank has successfully received ethics approval (extension) from Wales REC4 for next five years until 2020 [15/WA/0385].

Giving Consent for Research

Patients (or relatives) are usually approached during their stay in hospital by the attending surgeon, who will explain the request to donate tissue removed during planned surgery and which is surplus to diagnostic requirement for research.  Patients are also asked to donate a small amount of blood for research to be taken at the same time as samples for clinical use.  Sometimes patients will be asked to give consent for research when they attend clinics at The Walton Centre or Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.  Patient information sheets and an opportunity to ask questions are provided, before patients are offered a consent form.  If a patient consents, there are no further requirements other than to verbally check their continued agreement if further blood samples are required at intervals during their treatment. In our experience almost all patients and their relatives generously agree to make this donation and provide enormous support for research tissue collection, despite this being a very difficult time in their lives. 

Consenting for research or not has no influence on how patients are treated. Also patients can withdraw their consent for research at any time by request through their clinicians, following which tissues will be removed from the bank.

To view the patient information sheet click here
To view the consent form click here.

The Walton Research Tissue Bank and the Liverpool Neuro-oncology Research Group would like to thank past and present patients for their generous support of the Walton Research Tissue Bank and our research programme.

Research Projects

The operation of the Research Tissue Bank is overseen by a management committee, whose role it is to ensure that samples are used appropriately in relevant research projects. The Tissue Bank Management Committee has approved various research projects investigating various aspects of gliomas (arise in the brain) or metastatic brain tumours (spread from a tumour elsewhere in the body).  Tissues, blood and FFPET samples have been supplied for use in all of these projects. Samples used by researchers are fully anonymised before release so that individuals cannot be identified by researchers. 

Researchers from Liverpool or elsewhere wishing to study brain tumours may apply to us for samples to use in their research. Click here to download the application form.


Many patients at the Walton Centre are also treated by clinicians from the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre which has full approval to be an integral part of the Walton Research Tissue Bank and acts as a Tissue Collection Centre.  Brain tumour researchers in Liverpool are members of Brain Tumour North West (BTNW) which acts as a strategic alliance designed to consolidate and exploit clinical and research-based brain tumour expertise within the region.  BTNW also supports nervous system research tissue bank at the Royal Preston Hospital and we work in close collaboration and jointly support research projects investigating less common tumour types.  We welcome joint applications to the Walton and Preston tissue banks. Click here to download the joint applications form.

Brain Tumour Clinical Trials

The Walton Centre has an active clinical trials unit and several trials are currently open to patients with brain tumours.  Patients considered eligible for the trials are identified at the weekly neuro-oncology MDT meeting and are invited to participate.


An evaluation of the tolerability and feasibility of combining 5-Amino-Levulinic (5-ALA) with Carmustine wafers (Gliadel) in the surgical management of primary glioblastoma.

Principal investigator: Mr Michael Jenkinson


A Phase III trial on Concurrent and Adjuvant Temozolomide chemotherapy in 1p/19q intact anaplastic glioma.

Principal investigator: Dr Brian Haylock (Clatterbridge Cancer Centre)

Temsirolimus trial

Radiation therapy and concurrent plus adjuvant Temsirolimus (CCI-779) versus chemo-irradiation with temozolomide in newly diagnosed glioblastoma without methylation of the MGMT gene promoter – a randomized, multicentre, open-label, Phase II study.

Principal investigator: DrBrian Haylock (Clatterbridge Cancer Centre)


 Whole Brain Radiotherapy following local treatment of melanoma

Whole Brain Radiotherapy following local treatment of intracranial metastases of melanoma: a randomised Phase III trial

Principal investigator: Dr Ann Temple-Murray (Clatterbridge Cancer Centre)


Liverpool Neuro-oncology Research Group (LNRG)

This city wide group brings together clinicians and scientists researching both adult and paediatric brain tumours to exploit expertise in both areas. Current research areas include:

  • The role of intra-operative MRI in the management of paediatric brain tumours
  • The role of fluorescence-guided resection in paediatric brain tumours
  • Hypoxic pathways in paediatric and adult brain tumours
  • Long term GBM (in adult) survivors project
  • Precision management of intracranial meningioma
  • Intra-tumoural heterogeneity in Metastases tumour


Professor Barry Pizer (Paediatric oncologist) (ex-Chair)
Mr Michael Jenkinson (Adult neuro-oncology surgeon) (Chair)
Mr Andrew Brodbelt (Adult neuro-oncology surgeon)
Mr Conor Mallucci (Paediatric neurosurgeon)
Miss Benedetta Pettorini (Paediatric neurosurgeon)
Dr Avula Shivram (Paediatric radiologist)
Dr Kumar Das (Neuro-radiologist)
Dr Sam Mills (Neuro-radiologist)
Dr Maneesh Bhojak (Neuro-radiologist)
Professor Harish Poptani (Preclinical Imaging, University of Liverpool)
Professor Chris Sanderson (Cellular and Molecular Physiology, University of Liverpool)
Dr Udo Wieshmann (Neurologist)
Dr Violaine See (Research scientist)
Dr Brian Haylock (Clinical oncologist)
Dr Nitika Rathi (Consultant Neuropathologist)
Mr Khaja Syed (Tissue bank manager)