18. Craig Gerrand

18. Craig Gerrand
Target: £47,614.00
Raised: £0.10



Physical function in survivors of childhood bone and soft tissue tumours
Mr Craig Gerrand, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne
Amount of award: £47,614  │ Start date: June 2013  │ Duration: 12 months

It is important to understand how children and young people who have been treated for cancer manage after treatment. The treatment for bone and soft tissue tumours often involves major surgery and reconstruction of a limb, leaving many children disabled to some degree and, in some cases, unable to perform normal activities such as running or climbing stairs.

We need to understand how these children manage after treatment in order to ensure that families get the necessary support to help their child return to ‘normal’ life. Traditionally, physical function has been assessed through the use of clinical examination and questionnaires but this kind of assessment is limited and does not include direct measurement of how people manage at home or in the community.

The team in Newcastle has been working on two devices that can provide an objective assessment of physical function in hospital and at home. One is a wrist-mounted digital activity monitor, similar to a pedometer, and the other is a wireless motion tracking system. These devices have the potential to improve assessment of physical function by providing accurate, objective readings in and out of the hospital and thus to better understand the impact of treatment on patients’ lives.

In this 12 month feasibility study, the team will assess 20 patients, treated for a bone or soft tissue tumour in childhood, using traditional assessments followed by assessment using the new devices. This will involve wearing one of the devices for a week whilst doing normal activities. As well as testing the ‘wearability’ of the devices, this feasibility study will capture a significant volume of data that will give important insights into the future application of the technology.

About the research teamCraig Gerrand is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne. He treats children and adults with bone and soft tissue tumours in one of only five treatment centres for primary bone tumours in England.

This project capitalises on the expertise of a team already involved in research into the use of these devices in adults with arthritis. Sherron Furtado, a specialist research physiotherapist in sarcoma, will join this team to carry out the day to day work in involved in the project, under the supervision of Mr Gerrand.

Potential impact of this workPhysical disability is a significant problem for survivors of bone and soft tissue tumours. A deeper understanding of the experience of survivors of childhood bone and soft tissue tumours is required to help improve the treatments offered and to provide better services for survivors.

A clearer understanding of how different treatments affect physical function will also help patients and families make better, more informed decisions about treatment.


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