A test which will revolutionise the approach to tackling childhood cancer and improve the quality of life for hundreds of sufferers, has been given approval to be introduced across Europe.
Researchers at Newcastle University, funded by the UK’s largest brain tumour charity, The Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust, have developed the test for Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant childhood brain tumour.
It will allow doctors to determine a much more detailed understanding of the severity of a tumour enabling more appropriate treatment options and a more accurate prognosis.
The test, which has just been approved for implementation across Europe at the International Society for Paediatric Neuro-Oncology Conference in Vienna, will pave the way for the development of similar tests across other tumour types.
Professor Steve Clifford, who led the research team at Newcastle University, said: “This test is incredibly significant in our understanding of this tumour type and it will lead to children being treated much more appropriately.
"Before now, sufferers have been treated in a uniform way. Now we will be able to tell which of the children are at a lower risk and have a much higher chance of survival. Those at low risk can be given less aggressive treatment, which could significantly diminish long term treatment side effects such as hearing loss, attention deficit and learning difficulties."
Chairman of the Trust, Neil Dickson, who was at the Vienna Conference, says: “This is one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment relating to this tumour type. Over the next few years we will have three different treatment regimes which will aim to reduce side effects for one group of patients and increase survivability for the other groups."