In Sue’s Name adopt a PhD student

Myrianni’s PhD project

In Sue’s Name have set a target to raise £1 million by 2027 in order to provide crucial research funds to support the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Their success so far means that they have raised enough to “adopt” a PhD studentship, and are thrilled to welcome Myrianni Constantinou into her new role.

Myrianni is originally from Nicosia, Cyprus; a small beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea, hence her interests include swimming, dance, good food and travelling. She moved to the UK in September 2013 and obtained a BSc and MRes in Biomedical Science from the University of Portsmouth, with Distinction in both degrees. During her studies she developed an interest in currently incurable brain tumours such as glioblastoma and is delighted to have secured this PhD studentship at Barts and the London Medical School in the Marino Laboratory. Her long-term goal is to continue to pursue a career in neuro-oncology research and contribute to developing new therapies for these deadly tumours. 

At the Brain Tumour Research Centre at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) the innovative team of researchers led by Professor Silvia Marino has set up a world first, in the form of a research pipeline that directly compares matched glioma initiating cells (GIC) and matched normal neural stem cells (NSC) samples. These cells have the ability to self-renew and grow: properties that are thought to make glioma tumours such as the highly aggressive glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) regrow and be resistant to treatment.

By comparing the two samples from each individual patient they can subtract irrelevant changes that affect either the genetic code/DNA (genetic changes) or affecting accessibility of the DNA (epigenetic changes). The remaining differences are therefore highlighted and give vital clues about which may be the key genes involved in GBM development and maintenance. This knowledge lays strong foundations for the team to find new or repurposed drugs that are effective against this incredibly challenging type of tumour, which is currently incurable.

As well as building an impressively strong team of researchers who specialise in basic science (discovering how brain tumours develop and behave), the QMUL Centre has also become a magnet for bright young clinical researchers whose expertise lies in developing such basic research into new treatment strategies. Together their complementary expertise and perspectives provide a translational platform for the findings, moving results from “bench to bedside” in the shortest possible time for the greatest benefit of patients.

All work projects at QMUL are linked to form a coherent GBM research programme and each researcher has multiple roles. This ensures that skills and knowledge are shared across the whole programme, with each researcher having the best possible opportunity to interact with others, building upon their own unique insights and experience for the benefit of the whole team.

Myrianni’s PhD project is focused on developing a robust 3D model system to identify and characterise functionally relevant “driver genes” that drive the development and behaviour of glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumours. These driver genes are identified using novel genome-wide screenings carried out by the Centre. She tests various methods to establish cerebral organoids, sometimes known as “mini-brains,” to facilitate the assessment of the role that specific target genes play in tumour progression and to test whether they can be influenced by new or repurposed drugs.

A 3D model can recapitulate to some extent the complexity of the normal brain, including the microenvironment that develops around a tumour, in a way that a standard 2D cell culture system cannot. Myrianni and the team are ideally placed to develop this model as a tool for personalised medicine because of the availability of matched glioblastoma and normal cells collected by the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

In future the research pipeline and 3D model, as well as other knowledge and experience gained from this adult GBM programme, should successfully inspire and inform research into other tumour types, both adult and paediatric, in laboratories across the world. At QMUL, there are already plans to begin new work projects into medulloblastoma, the most common high-grade brain tumour in children. Together, we will find a cure.


In Sues Name Tea Party

On the 29th September Maria Elias organised an amazing Tea Party with an amazing range of cakes and sandwiches all donated by various businesses and friends of Maria, who she had contacted with the help of Antoinette, Zoe and Loredana who comprised the Committee, who had spent 2 months organising this event. Maria’s family and friends turned out in numbers to help Maria on the day helping to serve drinks and food.

Antoinette did Healing sessions and another lady did readings and there were a number of stalls including entertainment for the children. The total amount raised was £2160, which was largely due to a successful Partylite Candle Pool draw that Maria worked hard to promote in the 2 months preceding the event. Our friends from Barclays Bank who attended assisted on the day and we are hoping to receive £2000 in matched funding, bringing the teal to £4160, well done to Maria and her team an extraordinary successful event.

We also won the Award for Best Charity in the Local Sophia’s Diary Awards Ceremony


In Sue’s Name Annual Golf Day 2018 raises over £11,000

On Friday 21 September 2018, In Sue’s Name held our fifth annual charity golf day and dinner event at the Enfield Golf Club. The event was a great success, raising £11,134 for the charity.

55 golfers took part in 14 teams on a day when the weather was not at its most cooperative with occasional rain and unpredictable winds. With that said, In Sue’s Name supporters are a hardy bunch and all the golfers got away in good time, but many won’t be submitting their scores for any PGA awards this year!

In the evening the golfers were joined by friends and family and our Chairmen flew in directly from Portugal to attend the event. Many of our regular participants were in attendance, including David Burrowes, former MP for Enfield Southgate. In addition we welcomed a number of new faces and we were particularly pleased to see attendance from members of the BNI Business Network where our founder and director, David Taylor is an active member.

Many thanks to our sponsors for their continued support of this event. LMC contractors acted as the main event sponsor for the third year in a row. Many thanks also to all those who gave their time and provided raffle prizes and auction lots. Thanks also to DJ, Marcus Anthony who provided the entertainment for free.

Finally, many congratulations to our winners. We hope to see you all again at the golf event in 2019 and in attendance at some of the other great events we have lined up.


You give, they live

The more we raise, the more research we can do, and the sooner we can eradicate this terrible disease…