Understanding the long-term impacts for medulloblastoma survivors

We need to understand the long-term impact of treatments used for children who survive medulloblastoma. Forming a unique team of internationally-leading experts and future leaders will help to create a network prepared for the development and delivery of future clinical advances so we can better help children who suffer life-long side-effects of their disease and therapy.

Project Details

  • Project Title

    SMILE: An International network for Medulloblastoma Survivorship and Late-Effects

  • Lead Researcher

    Professor Steve Clifford

  • Research Centre

    Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre, Newcastle University Centre for Cancer

  • City & Institution Postcode

    Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU

  • Start Date

    1 July 2022

  • Duration

    36 months

  • Grant Amount


Steve Clifford male researcher wearing glasses sitting at desk looking at camera..


Medulloblastoma is the most common brain tumour which affects children. Around 70% of patients are cured, however survivors suffer life-long side-effects of their disease and therapy. These include growth and intellectual limitations which can result in survivors struggling to live independently. A combination of treatments for medulloblastomas is currently in use to help children survive their diagnosis. Professor Steve Clifford and his team have developed the SMILE network, a coordinated network of the essential international leaders needed to improve the outlook for medulloblastoma survivors, by improving their quality of life and reducing the late-effects burden associated with their disease and treatments. SMILE will establish, for the first time, a series of interlinked approaches needed to investigate and deliver advances in medulloblastoma survivorship. This network will help build the foundations for future research across Europe. The project will focus on bringing together a team of leading international researchers and creating common, efficient working practices to allow the integration of survivorship measures and research. The team also aims to understand the nature, causes and correlates of medulloblastoma late effects while working to deliver kinder medulloblastoma treatments for children. Along with an additional approach of reducing the severity of treatment and disease late-effects by developing personalised drug and rehabilitation interventions. Together, these approaches represent important steps towards improving life-long survivorship outcomes for children with medulloblastoma.

What difference will this project make?

SMILE’s new approach will help children who survive medulloblastoma have a better chance of a greater quality of life. Understanding the long-term impacts of medulloblastoma disease and therapy will help researchers develop gentler treatments and necessary advances in drug and rehabilitation strategies which will provide a brighter outlook for survivors. Importantly, SMILE brings together the essential network of experts needed to undertake this work and integrate their findings into current practice and the development of future clinical trials. SMILE is highly aligned with Children with Cancer UK’s vision to improve survivorship outcomes for children with cancer.

About the Research Team

Professor Steve Clifford is a Professor of Molecular Paediatric Oncology and Director at the Newcastle University Centre for Cancer. Professor Clifford is a proven organisational lead of international clinical research networks and is working with a team of highly experienced international leaders in medulloblastoma research. Professor Simon Bailey is a consultant in Paediatric Oncology at Great North Children’s Hospital and Honorary Professor of Paediatric Neuro-Oncology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Dr Sophie Thomas is a Consultant Paediatric Neuropsychologist and Honorary Assistant Professor at the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. The SMILE team also includes future leaders developing career interests in medulloblastoma survivorship including Dr Sarah Verity, Dr Debbie Hicks, Dr Susanna Waern and Dr Kim Bull.
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