Professor Steven Clifford

Getting personal with medulloblastoma treatment

Medulloblastoma is the most common aggressive brain tumour in children, and Professor Steven Clifford at Newcastle University is working to improve treatments for patients with this disease.

Scientists have discovered that there are several biological subtypes of medulloblastoma, each differing in terms of patient outlook and how the tumours respond to therapy. Professor Clifford and his team are busy analysing tumour samples and the surrounding blood and fluids to find ‘biomarkers’ – molecular and genetic ‘fingerprints’ – that characterise these distinct tumour types.

Using those promising discoveries, the group will then carry out follow up studies to work out which biomarkers could be useful in the clinic, helping predict treatment outcomes, and develop tests that can detect them. All of this work will then be applied to designing important clinical trials, in which children will be given treatment based on the features of their individual tumours.

Through this detailed approach of making cancer treatment more personal, Professor Clifford’s work will lead us towards better, kinder treatments for children and helping more people survive the disease.


Brain (and spinal cord) tumours
Cancer biology
Clinical trials

Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre, Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, Newcastle