Dr James Nicholson

Studying treatments for rare brain tumours

Children’s cancer expert Dr James Nicholson is heading an international clinical study, based at the University of Birmingham, on children and young people with a rare type of tumour in the brain called a germ cell tumour. Germ cells normally turn into our sperm and eggs. But in some foetuses, these can get left behind in other parts of the body during development and become a tumour later on in life.

If this happens in the brain, these germ cells can develop into different types of tumours that have different outlooks. They can be treated with surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. For some cancers, only one type of treatment is needed to cure it, while for others survival is low using just one type of therapy and a combination is more effective.

In this study, Dr Nicholson and his team will gather data while patients are being treated and follow them up to see which treatments give the best outcomes for the different tumour types. In the future, this evidence could help doctors decide which therapies they should use, potentially improving the way that these tumours are treated.


Brain tumour (primary)
Children's cancers
Young people's cancers
Clinical trials

Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Email: james.nicholson@addenbrookes.nhs.uk