A study of tissue and blood samples to learn more about glioma (Tessa Jowell BRAIN MATRIX)

Cancer type:

Brain (and spinal cord) tumours





This study is collecting blood and tissue samples from people who have a glioma Open a glossary item. A glioma is a type of brain tumour.  

It is part of a larger research programme to learn more about gliomas and improve treatment.

More about this trial

Surgery is the main treatment for glioma. This might be followed by chemotherapy and or radiotherapy

Sometimes it is difficult to remove all the tumour with surgery because of where it is in the brain. So some cancer cells might be left behind and the tumour can start to grow again. Radiotherapy and or chemotherapy can delay this but sometimes only for a short time. So doctors want to develop and test new treatments for glioma.   

To do this, researchers are starting by collecting blood and tissue samples. They will look at the samples to find out more about the individual make up of gliomas. This is called molecular or genetic profiling. The researchers hope that in the future it will help doctors decide the best treatment for everyone based on the genetic make up of their cancer. This is called personalised medicine. 

The main aims of this study are to:

  • find out if it’s possible to analyse glioma cells for genetic changes in a timely manner in the NHS
  • develop a large network of clinical centres across the UK who are experts in managing people with brain tumours
  • establish a standard way of collecting and analysing scans to help diagnose patients
  • find out more about the quality of life of people who have a glioma
  • let people know about other suitable research studies based on the type of disease they have. This includes looking at genetic changes.

Please note you may not get any direct benefit from taking part. The researchers hope that what they learn from this study might help doctors improve treatment for glioma. You might benefit if you are told about possible treatments or research studies.

Who can enter

The following bullet points are a summary of the entry conditions for this study. Talk to your doctor or the study team if you are unsure about any of these. They will be able to advise you. 

Who can take part

You may be able to join this study if all of the following apply. You:

  • have a glioma that is newly diagnosed or you have a glioma that is getting worse
  • have or your doctors suspects you have a slow or fast growing glioma. In this study this is a grade 2 to grade 4 glioma.
  • are suitable to have a sample of the glioma (biopsy Open a glossary item) taken or if you had previous surgery there is a sample of tissue available for the study team to access
  • are at least 16 years old

Who can’t take part

You cannot join this study if any of these apply. You:

  • have a tumour that started in the spinal cord Open a glossary item
  • are having treatment for another cancer
  • can’t have an MRI for any reason
  • haven’t had a standard scan Open a glossary item done to see the tumour or this scan isn’t available to share

Trial design

This is a feasibility study. The study team need 1,000 people to take part. 

You give a blood sample for the study. You might be asked to have more blood samples taken during your treatment for the study. You can say no to these samples if you don’t want to give them. 

The team also ask to have a sample of tissue removed during surgery or from a previous surgery. 

Your tumour will be analysed by a pathologist Open a glossary item at the hospital as usual. A small piece will be sent for review by experts. They plan to look at the DNA Open a glossary item and for substances called biomarkers Open a glossary item.

The results of the detailed analysis will be sent back to your doctor. The aim is for this to be done within 28 days. It will take longer as the new testing is introduced across the study sites. This analysis could detect inherited cancer genes that may also affect your family. You will be told about these if you provide consent Open a glossary item to do so when you join the study. 

They will also analyse any samples of fluid from around the brain and spinal cord that you have taken. This is cerebrospinal fluid Open a glossary item and doctors sometimes collect this as part of your routine care.

After surgery you continue to have standard treatment. This could include radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Your doctor will discuss this with you. 

The study team collect information about your glioma. This includes details about:

  • your current health
  • results of tests and scans
  • treatments you are having
  • other research studies you are taking part in

Quality of life
The study team ask you to fill out a questionnaire:

  • before you start treatment
  • at set times during treatment

The questionnaire asks about side effects and how you’ve been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

Sub studies 
You will also be asked to join a sub study, called BRIAN, run by The Brain Tumour Charity. This allows people to record their experiences of having a brain tumour. This is to help doctors and researchers get a better understanding of how having a brain tumour affects the quality of life of people:

  • who are living with a brain tumour or
  • who are caring for someone who has a brain tumour

Your doctor will talk to you about joining this extra study. They hope in the future this information will help provide better care and support to patients and their families.

The study team may also ask if you want to join another study called PEACE if it is running at your hospital. This study is asking people to agree to have samples taken of their cancer after their death. It is for people who have a brain tumour or a solid tumour cancer that has spread elsewhere in the body. They hope this will help them understand:

  • how cancer develops and spreads
  • how and why treatment stops working
  • what happens in the body in the final stages of cancer

Hospital visits

You don’t have any extra hospital visits or scans if you take part in this study.

Side effects

There are no side effects apart from some possible slight bleeding or bruising from the blood samples.


Newcastle upon Tyne

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Colin Watts

Supported by

Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, Birmingham
Genomics England
The Brain Tumour Charity
University of Birmingham
University of Oxford
University of Edinburgh

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

No votes yet
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think