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Our Childhood Brain Tumour Research

Striving for the best possible treatment for every child.

Brain tumours are the most common cause of death from cancer in childhood. We carry out biological discovery to deliver the next generation of improved brain tumour therapies.

We run a multi-disciplinary, translational research programme. This brings together a wide-range of expertise, from basic biological studies to international clinical trials.

Our work focuses on two of the major high-risk brain tumour types of childhood:

  • medulloblastoma: The most common malignant paediatric brain tumour
  • atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour (ATRT): A commonly lethal tumour type which arises most often in the first year of life

Together, these diseases account for over 300 childhood deaths every year in Europe.

Brain tumour research

Our principal approach to both tumour types is to understand their critical molecular features in detail. We use advanced next-generation genome-wide genetic and epigenetic technologies, alongside whole-tumour and single-cell analyses.

We use collections of primary and relapsed tumours linked to national and international clinical trials. We also use functional genomic models. We create these models to further understand their role in disease biology.

Translational strategies help us to develop biomarkers. We use the biomarkers to personalise therapy through better diagnosis, classification and prediction of disease course.

We apply this understanding to develop novel therapies targeted against specific disease biology.

We use equivalent strategies to understand the long-term side-effects associated with childhood brain tumours and their therapy, and develop interventional strategies.

We test our ideas and bring them into routine clinical practice through leading international clinical trials.

Our research and success stories

Our brain tumour research partners and funders

Cancer research UK Newcastle Centre
Cancer research UK
Children with cancer UK
Great Ormond Street
The brain tumour charity
JGW Patterson Foundation
Love Oliver
Star for harris
Blue skye
Medical Research Council
Northumbria University
Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals