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Funding for ground-breaking childhood cancer treatment announced
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19th May 2015
AUK Staff
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 This Anglo-American research study is the first to compare the use of proton radiotherapy and traditional radiotherapy for the treatment of the paediatric brain tumour medulloblastoma...
 Patrick Tonks
An Anglo-American research study that aims to measure and report on the quality of life of children with cancer following different forms of radiotherapy, has received £65,000 for its work at The Royal Marsden in London, UK, and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA.

The funding, from the Cancer Recovery Foundation UK and its US-based sister charity, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation, will support the two hospitals’ research into ground-breaking proton radiotherapy.

Recent research, including a 2012 report published by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, has shown that cancer survival rates for children have increased to around 80 per cent. However, treatment often leaves the survivor with chronic and debilitating medical conditions that impair their quality of life and can even lead to premature death.

Proton radiotherapy is a relatively new treatment that enables clinicians to target the cancer treatment more precisely, so that it delivers a smaller, but more concentrated, dose to the tumour. Unlike traditional radiation, it does not exit into the area around the tumour and this containment potentially reduces the risk to the patient.

The study will enable researchers at The Royal Marsden, in collaboration with their academic research partner The Institute of Cancer Research, London, to gather information on patients’ quality of life by asking them to fill out a questionnaire about their photon radiotherapy treatment at The Royal Marsden.

The funding will allow a Clinical Nurse Specialist to help deliver the questionnaire and collate the data for one day a week, which will ultimately be compared to questionnaires on patients’ experiences of undergoing proton therapy in the US.

Patrick Tonks, CEO of the UK charity, said:

“Radiation therapy provides essential treatment for children with tumours, but often has serious, long-lasting side effects, including an adverse impact on the normal healthy tissue surrounding the tumour. That is why we are so pleased to be able to support this study by The Royal Marsden and its research partner in the US.

“This Anglo-American research study is the first to compare the use of proton radiotherapy and traditional radiotherapy for the treatment of the paediatric brain tumour medulloblastoma,” he adds, “and we eagerly await the findings of their research into this ground-breaking technology. We hope that this will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship with The Royal Marsden and that their cancer patients will also be able to benefit from the wide-ranging support that the Cancer Recovery Foundation UK can provide.”

 In this era of escalating healthcare costs and budgetary constraints, it is essential that the value of new medical technologies be measured and proven by comparing the health outcomes between old and new technologies
 Dr Henry Mandeville
Dr Henry Mandeville, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden, and lead investigator for the study in the UK, added:

“This study is an important step to improving paediatric cancer treatment and survival. It will both inform the debate on proton radiotherapy and clarify its role in the management of paediatric cancers.

“In this era of escalating healthcare costs and budgetary constraints, it is essential that the value of new medical technologies be measured and proven by comparing the health outcomes between old and new technologies.”


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