Project information

Understanding Childhood Brain Cancer

We are raising money to support leading cancer specialist Dr Andrew Peet, at the University of Birmingham. This area of Dr Peet’s work centres on treating children with brain tumours, a very difficult process, via a pioneering new method of imaging called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).

December 2008 - November 2014

Charity information: Cancer Research UK

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  • Need

    Need

    In the 1960s, around a quarter of children with cancer survived. Today, three quarters survive and Cancer Research UK is proud to be at the heart of this huge progress but there is still work to be done. Many types of brain tumours are very difficult to treat. In an effort to tailor treatment to individual children, which could improve their chances of survival, Dr Peet and his team are developing new ways to produce images of brain tumours to‘see’ the biochemical processes happening inside.

    Solution

    Currently doctors use techniques like MRI scans to learn about a tumour’s size and location. Dr Peet’s team are investigating a pioneering imaging technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which probes tumours in depth giving valuable information about what’s happening inside. Using this type of scanning technology, doctors can ‘see’ the biochemical processes happening and monitor the effects of treatment better or predict how an individual child’s tumour will respond to particular drugs

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To develop functional imaging techniques in parallel with novel molecularly targeted agents.

    Activities

    » Develop new imaging techniques to determine how well new drugs, which are being developed to target specific characteristics of tumours, are working.

    The success of each aim will be measured by changes in clinical practice driven by the results of this work


    Aim 2

    To develop and evaluate imaging biomarkers for improved non-invasive classification.

    Activities

    » Imaging techniques will be tested for their ability to distinguish and diagnose different types of brain tumour without the need for a biopsy.

    The success of each aim will be measured by changes in clinical practice driven by the results of this work


    Aim 3

    To develop optimal signal processing and image analysis methods and integrate the data.

    Activities

    » Develop new ‘bioinformatics’ tools to integrate information from different imaging techniques with other information, e.g. genetic changes in cancer.

    The success of each aim will be measured by changes in clinical practice driven by the results of this work


    Aim 4

    To disseminate & further evaluate methods by incorporating them to multicentre trials of the CCLG.

    Activities

    » As new imaging methods are developed, they will be used in clinical trials to help share knowledge of how to carry out techniques with more scientists

    The success of each aim will be measured by changes in clinical practice driven by the results of this work


  • Impact

    Impact

    Using MRS scanning technology, doctors will have more information available to monitor the effects of treatment better or even predict how an individual child’s tumour will respond to particular drugs.In future, this cutting-edge research could allow doctors to select bespoke treatment for each child, helping to save more lives.The team are collaborating with a number of doctors running clinical trials in childhood cancer to integrate and evaluate their imaging into the trials.

    Risk

    The main risk is the potential to not be able to recruit enough patients to take part in the imaging studies – even though almost 400 children are diagnosed with a brain tumour annually, the number with a particular type of tumour may be very small and some patients and their parents may not be willing to take part in studies. Large numbers of participants are needed to make the results of these studies significant. Recruitment will be monitored by the project management committee.

    Reporting

    If you leave your contact details, we will send personalised written updates on Dr Peet's work with key progress information and we can also offer lab visits with Dr Peet himself to understand more fully how the research is going.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £453,500

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £230,000 Staff costs This includes students, student stipends, radiologist time and post docs
      £223,500 Running costs This includes lab materials, scans, estates, indirect costs and travel

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Comet £45,000 Guaranteed
    Anonymous Trust £10,000 Conditional
    Several anonymous donors £50,000 Conditional
  • Background

    Location

    Birmingham

    Beneficiaries

    Potentially any child suffering from a brain tumour could benefit from this work, as any practice changing results have the potential to be rolled out nationally and internationally. Almost 400 children are diagnosed with a brain tumour annually in the UK. The study may also being benefits for adults with brain tumours. In the UK alone, more than 9,000 people are diagnosed with brain and central nervous system tumours each year.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Cancer Research UK is a major funder of research into children’s cancer in the UK, having spent over £8.6 million last year. Our support has put the UK at the heart of international research into children’s cancer. To give examples of our success to date, we were involved in a ten-year study that improved survival rates for children with neuroblastoma, a type of brain tumour. In addition our work led to a new standard of treatment for another type of brain tumour called medulloblastoma.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.

    People

    Dr Andrew Peet

    Dr Peet is a pioneering cancer specialist leading the team who are investigating a pioneering imaging technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Its not about spending three years in the lab to generate results that can then be applied. It’s happening with real children in real time.

Dr Andrew Peet