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Brain tumours and cancer

Every year in the UK, around 400 children are diagnosed with brain cancer. Many face prolonged and gruelling treatment with surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. While treatment can prove life-saving, it can also cause serious, long-term side effects.

Sadly, around one in every four children diagnosed with a brain tumour lose their lives within five years, making brain tumours the most deadly of all childhood cancers.

We are funding research to try and improve the chances and treatment for children like Joey, pictured above, with brain tumours and cancer. Below are some of the current research projects we're funding into brain tumours.

Professor Peet and his team
Pictured: Professor Peet (centre) and his team

Brain cancer

Identifying the best treatment for each child

We’re currently funding the work of Professor Andrew Peet and his team at the University of Birmingham.

Children with brain cancer have MRI scans routinely when they are first diagnosed. Professor Peet aims to use vital information from these scans to better predict how aggressive each child’s cancer is likely to be, much sooner and with greater accuracy.

Children with the most aggressive tumours could immediately be given the most intensive treatment, which could boost their chances of survival. And children whose tumours are not so life-threatening could be given less intensive treatment, sparing them from some of the lifelong disabilities that treatment can cause.

Professor Peet

"Early information about a child’s outlook for the future would enable us to tailor treatment more closely to individual needs."
Professor Peet

Craniopharyngiomas

Developing new drug treatments for children with these devastating tumours

Each year in the UK, around 30 children are diagnosed with a tumour called a craniopharyngioma. These tumours grow near the pituitary gland in the head, very close to the brain.

Children normally undergo surgery, sometimes followed by radiotherapy. Both the tumour and its treatment can leave children with serious, long-term problems that badly affect quality of life, such as hormone problems, obesity, seizures and blindness.

Unfortunately, current treatment is not always effective and tumours often regrow. With funding from Action, Dr Carles Gaston-Massuet, of Barts and The London School of Medicine, aims to identify new drug treatments for children with these devastating tumours, in the hope of improving their quality of life.