Brain cancer is a dangerous and debilitating condition that affects around 400 children across the UK every year. A groundbreaking new research centre in Birmingham is helping hospitals all over the country improve how they diagnose and treat this disease.
Cancer is still the most likely cause of death from disease in children, and among that group, brain cancer is the most common. Even if a child survives the disease, they are likely to be left with a potentially significant disability which can have a major impact on the rest of their life, and that of their family.
New strategies are urgently needed to improve the way in which we diagnose and treat these diseases, particularly those which we consistently fail to cure, such as many brain tumours.
A new set of scanning techniques, collectively known as functional imaging, give information on tissue properties such as chemical make-up, blood flow and growth. These techniques are starting to help doctors diagnose more efficiently, make improved treatment plans and monitor the success of treatments.
In Birmingham we have pioneered the use of a functional imaging method called magnetic resonance spectroscopy for investigating tumours in children. This technique gives a chemical profile of the tumour and we have shown that it can be useful in diagnosis, in identifying aggressive tumours and as an early indicator of response to treatment. The technique can be performed at the same time as the conventional MRI scan which forms part of the routine care of these children making it very easy to incorporate into clinical practice. We lead a national programme to develop functional imaging and translate it into clinical practice across the UK and beyond.
This is an exciting time for functional imaging research in Birmingham. A new Imaging Research Centre, funded by a £3.7 million grant from the National Institute for Health Research, has just opened here. The facility is dedicated to children and located next to the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at Birmingham Children’s Hospital providing an unparalleled opportunity to develop new techniques and translate them rapidly into clinical practice.
Your gifts will help the centre fund essential equipment and employ dynamic, bright and innovative researchers to begin to make a step change in diagnosis and treatment that will save lives across the country.
If 50 people gave just £5 we could pay for a child with brain cancer to have a functional imaging scan.
A £1,200 gift could fund an workstation for viewing images, an essential piece of laboratory equipment.
If 3,000 people gave £100 we could pay a radiographer's salary for a year.
Donate online or text CIRC03 plus your chosen amount to 70070 to give today.