We want raise £128,000 to support Great Ormond Street’s vital research into better understanding why tumours like Milli’s are fatal and what can be done for better access and combat these diseases in children.
Lead researcher: Darren Hargrave – Consultant Paediatric Oncologist, Haemotology & Oncology & Lead for Experimental Cancer Therapeutics programme
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: £128,148
Link to charity: http://www.justgiving.com/millionandongosh/
Darren Hargrave’s work focuses on tumours that are currently very hard to treat, such as gliomas, and other forms of drug-resistant cancer. He is looking at ways to improve how we assess and combat these diseases in children. Specifically, he is developing more accurate imaging techniques using nuclear medicine (a special form of scanning) to develop further understanding of the tumours and how they respond to treatment. Ultimately he aims to ensure that new anti-cancer therapies are introduced more rapidly into the mainstream care of young cancer patients.
What has been a highlight of the research you have carried out to date?
Before coming to GOSH, I led the development of four international clinical trials of new treatments for children with rare and high-risk forms of cancer. My specialism is brain tumours that are currently very hard to treat, such as gliomas, and other forms of drug-resistant cancer, looking at ways to improve how we assess and combat these diseases in children.
What impact has this research had on patients?
These studies have helped to establish new standards of care for children with central nervous system and brain tumours across Europe, including GOSH. The current glioma study we’re running is the largest ever, and is being conducted in 15 countries (over 70 institutions). Already we are discovering vital information on the genetics of the disease, and how to improve our scans and treatments as a result.
What are you trying to do now?
We want to use nuclear medicine scans (which help assess metabolism, blood flow and proliferation rates of tumours) in combination with the latest forms of CT and MRI scans, to pinpoint how well our cancer treatments are working. We also want to learn more about the exact biology of rare tumours – how they feed, grow and spread – to target further new treatments.
Why are you doing it?
Despite advances in paediatric cancer, after accidents, it remains the leading cause of UK childhood deaths. GOSH sees more children with rare tumours than any other centre in the UK. However many of these cancers have mortality rates of over 60%. To help these children, it is vital we introduce new anti-cancer therapies and more refined tests to improve the accuracy and effects of these therapies in combatting tumour growth.
How will this research make a difference to children?
This research programme will allow children with cancer at GOSH (and throughout the UK) to have access to the latest anti-cancer therapies. By developing more accurate imaging techniques using nuclear medicine, we can also ensure these new anti-cancer therapies are introduced more rapidly into mainstream care in an under-researched and urgent area of paediatric medicine.