Neurology Central

Collaboration is key: new cross-discipline approaches to glioma – interview with Christian Naus

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Glioma has one of the poorest cancer prognoses – a statistic that several research groups across the globe are working to change. One key approach is the development of suitable models for assessing the efficacy of novel therapeutics; something that Christian Naus, Professor at The University of British Columbia (BC, Canada) and Canada Research Chair in Gap Junctions in Neurological Disorders, is currently working on. But with a challenge on this scale, collaboration is key: Christian is working with colleagues across disciplines and drawing on additive manufacturing expertise to develop 3D glioma models with the hope that these 3D organoids will facilitate personalized medicine approaches to one of the brain’s most significant threats.
We met Christian at SfN’s Neuroscience 2016 (San Diego, CA, USA, 12–16 November 2016) where he presented his recent research and spoke about his hopes for the use of 3D printing and personalized medicine in glioma research and treatment.

Please could you tell us a little about your background and current work?

My research program explores the role of gap junction channels and their proteins (connexins and pannexins) in disease, including consequences of mutations on gap junction structure and function, and the role of these intercellular channels in diagnosis of disease and development of novel therapeutic strategies.  My lab has conducted over 25 years of research in neurobiology and cancer, focused on cellular and molecular studies to characterize the role of gap junctions in proliferation, differentiation, transgenic mouse models of neurological disorders, and preclinical therapeutic studies for cancer, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

You recently presented you group’s work, ‘Modeling glioma using 3D bioprinting’, at Neuroscience 2016 – could you give an overview of this?

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