Professor Chris Jones and his team concentrate on scanning the genome and epigenome of paediatric brain tumours. Their aim is to find the genes that are driving development of these cancers, and identifying ways to translate these findings into new treatments for children with these tumours.
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The team focuses on paediatric high grade and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma – tumours that continue to have a dismal clinical outcome. They are part of a major effort to build up the most detailed picture to date of the genome of these aggressive cancers.
As these tumours are rare, Professor Jones has forged collaborations with other international organisations in order to collect samples that cover the spectrum of potential variations, and to conduct the most comprehensive possible analysis.
Professor Jones’ work has already revealed some significant genetic differences between the adult and child form of the disease, and has highlighted potential new drug targets.
“There is a real unmet clinical and basic science need in this tumour type, as paediatric high grade gliomas are incredibly resistant to current treatment options, and we really know very little about the underlying biology of the disease,” Professor Jones says.
“Our ambitions within the laboratory are to turn some of our laboratory-based hypotheses into real, molecularly-based treatments for malignant paediatric gliomas, and to see, at last, real progress being made in the survival of children with these dreadful cancers.”
Professor Jones joined The Institute of Cancer Research, London, in 2001 as a Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre. Prior to this, he investigated the molecular genetics of different types of breast tumours at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at University College London and the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London.
“There is no doubt as to the advantages offered by working at the ICR – the very close interactions we have with our clinical colleagues at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and the unique academic drug discovery programme embedded within the ICR itself make it an excellent place to conduct research,” Professor Jones says.
Professor Jones achieved his PhD in 1998 from the University of London, after first attaining a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Toxicology and Pharmacology. He is the Translational Science Lead for international clinical trials in paediatric high grade glioma and is former chair of the International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) European High Grade Glioma Biology Group.
Professor Jones grew up in Western Australia but has lived in Texas, and completed an undergraduate research project for Sandoz Pharma in Basel, Switzerland. In his spare time, Chris is torn between marathon running and drinking Oregon Pinot Noir, and is attempting to learn Japanese.