Kidscan are working together with North West Cancer Research to jointly fund a three-year PhD grant for a scientist working in the area of childhood cancer whose research focuses on Medulloblastoma, or who can illustrate how their work could also be relevant to Medulloblastoma.
Medulloblastoma is the most common type of brain tumour accounting for 15-20% of all cases. The survival rate currently stands at 70%, however if the tumour has spread (metastasised) survival rates are closer to 60%. Sadly 35% of children have Medulloblastoma that has spread at the time of diagnosis
Relapse occurs in around 30% of children with Medulloblastoma, in these cases survival is as low as 18%.
Kidscan recognise that adult and childhood cancers are different and need their own specific treatments. We are one of the only charities in the UK dedicated to finding safe new treatments for children with cancer. Kidscan invest in research that aims to both improve survival rates and stop the late effects that current treatments cause. Kidscan research focusses on:
• Improving current treatments to eliminate the damage they cause to healthy cells
• Finding new ways to deliver treatments, to reduce the damage they cause whilst increasing the number of cancers they can safely reach
• Developing new treatments that only target cancerous cells, keeping healthy cells safe
In December 2016, Matty Hatton developed headaches with occasional sickness. After a visit to the GP and a CT scan he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a rare brain tumour. Matty had surgery and over 14 months of treatment which included chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Although Matty rang the end of treatment bell, but he went on to relapse twice needing further treatment. Tragically, in February 2022, Matty gained his angel wings.
Matty was an inspirational young man, a huge Leicester City supporter and all through his treatment he was dedicated to completing his GCSE’s. To keep Matty motivated during lockdown his aunty setup Letters from the Lockdown, a facebook page that asked people to write to Matty. The response was overwhelming and Matty received over 800 letters and postcards from people across the country including astronaut Tim Peake, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy and Ant and Dec.
Alongside Letters from the Lockdown, Matty became a Kidscan ambassador and helped us by using his story to raise awareness of childhood cancer and the importance of research.
Alison Matty’s Mum says:
“Matty LOVED being an ambassador for Kidscan as he was passionate about trying to help others and was super proud of the work that Kidscan do. After visiting the labs and seeing for himself the amazing work they do, this filled Matty with hope that one day there would be a cure for this”
Alastair Richards, CEO of North West Cancer Research says:
“We are delighted to be collaborating with Kidscan to help tackle childhood cancer. Although we are making great progress in the diagnosis and treatment of many cancers, there are sadly some cancers that have not had the same focus or success and that is why partnerships like this one are vitally important. Childhood cancers can be devastating but research projects like this one can help ensure that those affected lead full lives and reach their potential.”
Kirsty Leigh, Kidscan Head of Operations and Marketing says:
“We are thrilled to be working with North West Cancer Research to fund a specific childhood cancer research project. Sadly in the UK, children do not receive the same focus as adults with only around 3.5% of cancer research spend dedicated to beating childhood cancer, making collaborations like this all the more important”
In the last 50 years, average childhood cancer survival rates have improved significantly however there are some cancers which have lagged behind and still have significantly lower survival rates, especially if the cancer has spread or relapsed as we have seen with the passing of one of our ambassadors Matty Hatton.
We feel it is important to give these cancers specific focus so that children have an equal chance of survival regardless of their diagnosis, and we are proud to be dedicating our contribution to this project to Matty’s memory.