Quality of Life Awards
This scheme has been established to focus the research onto reducing the burden and harm to those diagnosed with a brain tumour. That means both physical and mental wellbeing during all steps of the cancer pathway including remission and end of life care.
Going online for better communication after treatment
Professor Kennedy and his team are working towards improving the communication process (after treatment) between children with brain tumours, their parents and doctor.
The immediate and close monitoring could avoid unnecessary long-term harm (such as mental health issues) by asking children about their health, concerns and allowing on-going discussions and routine appointments soon after diagnosis.
These processes will be reinforced by a simple online feedback mechanism to ensure all is being done to prevent unnecessary harm to the child's quality of life.
Taking a closer look at brain injury
Treatment for children with medulloblastoma, an aggressive type of brain tumour, is frequently accompanied by damage to the brain with long-term implications such as memory loss. When grouped together these effects are called Cerebellar Mutism Syndrome (CMS) or Posterior Fossa Syndrome, because of the location of the tumour at the back of the brain.
Diffusion tensor imaging or DTI, is a type of MRI that measures the flow of water around the brain, and around the tumour, which allows us to see precisely where damage may have occurred. The technique is yet to be developed for medulloblastoma, and this will be the focus of Professor Clark's project with us.
If these vulnerable areas of the brain can be avoided during treatment it would prevent CMS and the unnecessary brain injuries that severely affect a child's quality of life.
Mr Mallucci will be carrying out a multi-centre study to investigate Cerebellar Mutism Syndrome (CMS), a.k.a. Posterior Fossa Syndrome, a serious and poorly understood late effect resulting from surgical complication. It is seen in up to 25% of children after removing tumours from the very back of the skull, known as the cerebellum.
This study will explore the surgical methods associated with CMS and determine whether some patients are at higher risk of developing CMS in order to enhance treatment and improve quality of life. With a greater understanding of CMS they hope to ultimately prevent and reduce the number of children who have CMS after surgery.