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Project has helped over 150 patients with safer chemotherapy

Project has helped over 150 patients with safer chemotherapy

LPT-funded study helps to find right amount of medicine

Most children who have cancer will have some type of chemotherapy, medicines designed to kill cancer cells.

This often works really well, and lots of children are cured of their cancer.

However, chemotherapy medicines are quite damaging, as they often hurt healthy cells as well as cancer cells.

Making sure that a child gets just the right amount of chemotherapy is really important, as it makes sure there is the right amount to kill the cancer cells, but not so much that it causes too many side effects.

Doctors have guidelines they can follow for this, but there are some children who don’t quite fit the guidelines, such as very young babies or children with other conditions that affect the way their bodies process medications.

It can be difficult to know how very young babies will process chemotherapy medicines as the organs that deal with waste are still developing.

Professor Gareth Vale's project has shown how common cancer medicines behave.

Professor Gareth Veal has just finished an LPT-funded project that worked with real patients to make sure they received the right amount of chemotherapy.

They were doing this through a process called ‘therapeutic drug monitoring’, where blood tests taken at each stage of a patient’s treatment to see how much of the chemotherapy medicine is in the blood.

The doctors can then increase the dose if there is not enough chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells, or decrease it if they find too much chemotherapy.

In his two-year project, Gareth helped more than 150 patients by ensuring their chemotherapy stayed at the right level, and developed a website to share his newly developed guidelines for 24 different medicines.

This will help doctors in the future make sure their patients have safe amounts of chemotherapy.

This project has provided a lot more information about how common cancer medicines behave and are broken down for very young babies and other hard to treat patients.  

This will help doctors in the future make sure their patients have safe amounts of chemotherapy, to improve cure rates and decrease the possibility of serious side effects.

The LPT funding has therefore not only helped the young patients who took part in the research project, but will also help many children going through cancer treatment in the future.

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The MBE for voluntary groups was awarded to The Little Princess Trust by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.