Current research into children's and young people's cancers
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Saving lives through our research
There are lots of different types of cancer that affect children and young people, and they are very different to adult cancers.
We are laying the foundations needed to carry out research and help more children survive cancer. In 2018, we launched our Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, which will be a hub of expertise in children's brain tumour research. We are also the only charity that funds a dedicated clinical trials unit for all children’s cancers at the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit in Birmingham.
Below are some examples of what our researchers are doing right now to help improve survival and reduce long-term side effects for children and young people affected by cancer.
Our current researchers
Directing clinical trials
Professor Pam Kearns is Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU) in Birmingham. The unit co-ordinates clinical trials across the UK to find new, better and kinder ways to treat the different cancers that affect children and young people. As part of their work, the CRCTU works with scientists across the world to develop these new trials and treatments.
Tackling a rare type of brain tumour
Dr Darren Hargrave is leading a clinical trial testing how well new treatments work for children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) – a rare and hard-to-treat type of brain tumour. Treatments will be based on whether or not certain processes are turned on or off in a child’s tumour. The trial’s design means pioneering new drugs can be added to the trial as they are developed.
Improving radiotherapy treatments
In London, Dr Mark Gaze is leading clinical trials to improve treatment for neuroblastoma. In one study, he is testing whether a radiotherapy technique called ‘intensity modulated arc therapy’ can safely deliver higher doses of radiotherapy to the tumour. This could make treatment work better and have fewer side effects.
In Newcastle, Professor Steven Clifford is working to improve treatment for medulloblastoma, the most common type of brain tumour in children. He’s developing tests to make sure each child gets the treatment that’s right for them. His research will allow doctors to identify children with low-risk medulloblastoma who can be given less intense treatment and will make sure children who need more intense treatment get it.