"He went through six operations and was placed on a clinical trial so he could try new treatments.”
A study looking at functional imaging to help diagnose and treat children and young people with solid tumours (CNS 2004 10)
This study is looking at functional imaging, using a range of scanning techniques to help diagnose, treat and understand more about solid tumours in children and young people.
This study is for children and young people up to their 25th birthday at diagnosis. We use the term ‘you’, but of course if you are a parent, we are referring to your child.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is one of the tests used to diagnose and follow the treatment of children and young people with solid tumours. This scan uses magnetism to build up a picture of the inside of the body. It can tell the doctors where in the body your tumour is and how big it is. When you have treatment, for example surgery, an MRI scan can also pick up any tumour that has been left behind. So this test is a good way of finding out how well treatment has worked. But this scan does not give the doctors all the information they would like.
Functional imaging is similar to an MRI scan but uses a number of techniques. Earlier studies suggest that functional imaging may also be able to give information about the type of tumour, how quickly it is growing and whether certain treatments will work. The doctors running this study want to find out if this is the case.
By using functional imaging in several hospitals in the UK, doctors aim to collect a lot of information about these scans that will hopefully help them to understand solid tumours better and to improve their treatment.
Who can enter
You can enter this study if you
- Are suspected of having a solid tumour
- Are a patient at one of the hospitals taking part in this study
- Are aged up to and including your 25th birthday at diagnosis
You cannot enter this study if you can't have a scan using magnetic resonance for medical reasons.
If you take part in this study, you will have regular functional imaging scans. You will still have routine MRI scans, either at a separate appointment or at the same time as the functional imaging.
You will have these scans at the start of the study or when you are first diagnosed and at various points after treatments. These appointments will be arranged with you on an individual basis and your doctor will explain when and how often they will take place.
If you have surgery to treat your tumour, the doctors may also ask you if you will be part of another study, related to this one. The study doctors will ask if they can take a small sample of the tumour that is removed during your operation. They will also ask for a blood test. This blood and the appearance of the tumour sample in the laboratory will then be compared to the results of the functional imaging scans. This is called a ‘biological study’- it is looking at the biology of solid tumours.
If you do not want you to take part in the biological study, you can say no. You can still take part in this functional imaging study.
In some hospitals, functional imaging is carried out routinely as part of an MRI scan. Your MRI scan can take about 30 to 45 minutes. The functional imaging will add about 10 to 15 minutes on to the length of the scan.
In other hospitals, functional imaging is not carried out routinely as part of an MRI scan. If this applies to your hospital, you will have a routine MRI scan, then a functional imaging scan. Your doctor will tell you whether you will have one scan or two separate scans. Two separate scans may involve 2 separate visits to the hospital.
You would have MRI scans as part of your diagnosis and treatment, whether you take part in this study or not. These scans are used routinely for children and young people with tumours.
MRI and functional imaging scans are similar, so possible side effects are the same. With an MRI scan, you may have an injection of a dye into a vein in your arm, to help make the pictures clearer.
MRI and functional imaging scans are completely painless, although you will need to lie still during the test and the machinery is very noisy. You may also feel ‘closed in‘ or claustrophobic because the table you lie on will move into a tube or cylinder while the scan is carried out.
Depending on your age and how you feel about having a scan, the doctor may talk to you about having sedation to help you relax or to put you to sleep during the test. You will be offered some headphones to protect your ears from the noise, you may be able to listen to music.
How to join a clinical trial
Prof Andrew Peet
Cancer Research UK
Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)
Department of Health
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Medical Research Council (MRC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer