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Scan boost for child brain cancer care

Tuesday September 30th, 2014

British researchers are hoping to revolutionise the care of children with brain cancer using a new scanning technique, it was announced today.

The technique is expected to give doctors a single three-dimensional picture of where a cancer - a neuroblastoma - is growing in the patient.

Doctors say they hope the technique may help prevent the need for multiple scans as well as giving a highly accurate image of where cancer cells are.

The scans use radioactive iodine tracer and may have to be performed under general anaesthetic.

The new technique is to be tested in a trial at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, and University College London Hospital. Some 25 children will take part.

Children will be injected with an iodine tracer call [124I]mIBG, which can be detected using a PET/CT scan.

Researcher Dr Sue Chua, a consultant radiologist at The Royal Marsden, said: “Offering children a single PET scan instead of multiple scans would take a lot of the stress out of getting neuroblastoma diagnosed, while still providing doctors with the information they need to decide on the best course of treatment.

"Often the more aggressive form of the disease isn’t picked up until conventional treatments fail, so we also hope this trial will help diagnose the disease earlier so treatment can be adapted accordingly.”

One family welcomed the new tests.

The mother, called Amy, told how her daughter Poppy was treated five years ago.

She said: “Children can get scared easily and, with Poppy being so young, it was hard to watch her go through all the tests even though we knew they were necessary to save her life. But thankfully we’ve come out the other side of that period of our lives and she is now doing well.

"Anything that can make hospital visits less traumatic, and that improves the accuracy of diagnoses and treatments is worth pursuing and could make a real difference to children with cancer.”

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Cancer | Child Health | UK News

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