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Research looks at returning cancer

Research looks at returning cancer

Aim is to find new and better treatments

A significant donation from The Little Princess Trust will fund a new study at the University of Birmingham to find new and better treatments for children and young people living with cancer.

The new three-year study, led by Dr Susanne Gatz, will develop better testing of recurrent tumour tissue and blood samples to predict the child’s response to a drug called PARP inhibitor (PARPi).

The outcome for children whose cancer returns is poor and the study will investigate tumour tissues and blood samples of around 100 patients enrolled in two treatment groups of the international ESMART trial for children with relapsed and refractory cancer.

We hope that it will mean more children and young people, with cancer that has returned, can have a more personalised treatment option in the future.

These two patient groups will have received treatment with PARPi. Patients are selected for treatment in these groups based on specific gene changes in their tumour, but we know that the treatment only works in a proportion of patients and we don’t exactly know what the best way is to select patients for these treatments.

The study aims to find out why some children respond better than others by looking for better markers to select children for PARPi treatment.

Dr Susanne Gatz is leading the childhood cancer research project at the University of Birmingham that is funded by The Little Princess Trust.

We hope that it will mean more children and young people, with cancer that has returned, can have a more personalised treatment option in the future, bringing much needed hope for families.

The Little Princess Trust was established in 2006 as a tribute to Hannah Tarplee, who died following a diagnosis of a Wilms tumour. During Hannah’s treatment, her family searched for a wig suitable and when they found one, it had a hugely positive effect on Hannah.

Her parents Wendy and Simon subsequently launched the charity, which is dedicated to providing real hair wigs for children and young people, and to supporting pioneering research into finding new and better treatments for all paediatric cancers.

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The MBE for volunteer groups, awarded to The Little Princess Trust by Her Majesty The Queen.