Valeria Molinari, Institute of Cancer Research, UK

Valeria Molinari

This image shows the three-dimensional (3D) invasion of patient-derived primary glioblastoma cells into a matrix-mimicking substrate called Matrigel. The primary culture was established from a biopsy of a 10-year-old female patient, taken from the left thalamic tumour and diagnosed as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Nestin is a type IV intermediate filament protein, which is transiently expressed during embryonic development but is not present during adulthood, except when it is re-induced in pathological conditions such as gliomas. GFAP is an intermediate filament protein expressed by numerous cell types in the central nervous system, in their differentiated state. 

The image clearly demonstrates heterogeneity in terms of marker expression, with distinct cell populations expressing nestin or GFAP alone, and a sub-population of cells where both proteins are shown to be co-expressed. Cells highly expressing nestin appear to initiate the invasion as they are observed grouped in fascicules, whereas cells far from the centre of the spheroid are mostly GFAP positive.

The outcome of these young patients is very poor with an overall survival of only 12-15 months, thus it is very important to carry out functional studies in order to better understand the disease and ultimately find new treatments for these aggressive brain tumours.

Products used: H-1000-10,S-2000-20