What difference will this project make?
Scientists are developing new ways to treat children with neuroblastoma. But we need to find a way to safely get these treatments from research labs to the children’s bedside. In adults, biomarkers have revolutionised drug development, improving response rates to treatment from 4 per cent to 50 per cent. This hasn’t yet happened in children’s cancer, partly because we often can’t safely operate on children to perform the biopsies which enable us to see how well treatments are working.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and non-invasive way to assess tumours. Advanced functional and molecular MRI scans give us a clear picture, including size and shape, blood supply, and altered metabolism.
We can easily introduce these advanced scans into existing standard MRI scans used for children. But first we need to be certain that the MRI biomarkers accurately show how treatments are working.
Dr Yann aims to show that advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can identify the most aggressive and high-risk forms of neuroblastoma, as well as predicting or monitoring how they respond to these new treatments.
Doing this will help us to decide how, and when, we can start using these new treatments to help children with neuroblastoma. It’ll also reduce the need for invasive procedures, making treatment less difficult. Ultimately, more children affected by neuroblastoma will survive.
Although this research is mainly looking at neuroblastoma, it will be helpful for any childhood solid tumours including brain tumours and rhabdomyosarcomas.