12 May 2006

Professor Chris Eiser wins a £30,000 research grant for development and evaluation project

Prof Chris Eiser has won a grant for a project entitled "Development and evaluation of a neuropsychological follow-up service for survivors of childhood brain tumours." The research is funded by the Samantha Dickson Research Trust (£30k) and will commence in October 2006. The lay summary is below:

Development and evaluation of a neuropsychological follow-up service for survivors of childhood brain tumours.

Advances in treatment have led to much improved survival rates for children with cancer, with approximately 80% being 'cured'. Treatment of brain tumours in children remain more difficult as survival rates remain lower than for other cancers, and approximately two thirds of children experience late effects as a result of the initial cancer or treatment. These include physical problems (for example poor growth, infertility, mobility, visual or hearing problems) as well as learning and behavioural problems. Children may look different (smaller, overweight, delayed pubertal development) and can experience teasing from others. These difficulties are a significant concern for children, their families and schools.

Health, Education and Social Services are poorly equipped to address the rehabilitation needs of these children and many families lack help and support. In this proposed research, we attempt to define the extent of the problem in a group of children treated for brain tumours, and to introduce an intervention service for those with severe cognitive (learning) problems. Currently, NHS resources are targeted at medical cure of the cancer. Our argument is that children need specialist support after treatment in order to achieve their potential and enjoy a normal quality of life. Our results will be used i) to support an application for NHS funding to establish a model of service delivery for future children and ii) inform the development and structure of a national rehabilitation service.