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Characterisation of Paediatric Brain Tumours

Characterisation of Paediatric Brain Tumours

Improving Diagnostic and Predictive Outcomes Based on Functional Neuroimaging

Professor Theodoros Arvanitis and his research team have pioneered an imaging technique to provide children with brain tumours a non-invasive method of disease diagnosis, its management, and prediction of survivability.

The challenge

While survival rates have steadily improved for childhood brain tumours, with 75% of patients now living beyond five years, non-invasive diagnosis of the condition and accurate prediction of how the disease will progress in individual patients has remained a challenge. Childhood cancers are very different to those found in adults, they are often more difficult to treat, and the treatment can be incredibly debilitating.

Our approach

Since Professor Arvanitis joined Warwick in 2013, and in collaboration with external academic institutions and an associated network of NHS trusts, the team has achieved major advances in the development of improved models and software in this area.

Building upon previous research on advanced MRI-based functional imaging, and using machine learning, he was able to produce improved childhood brain tumour diagnostic classifiers. Although visual assessment can be subjective, the research demonstrates that advanced imaging techniques incorporated with machine learning algorithms can be used for paediatric brain tumours in clinical practice as a completely non-invasive method of providing a quick and accurate diagnosis, while helping predict survivability.

Our impact

Professor Arvanitis’ research has helped create clinical improvements in diagnosis and management of childhood brain tumours, with the additional benefit of predicting survivability for children with these brain tumours, which deliver benefits directly to patients, the NHS and healthcare providers, as well as national charities.

This imaging is vital to ensuring children receive the best treatment of brain tumours. The suite of MRI-based functional imaging methods and associated computational analysis were first pioneered in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with Warwick and University of Birmingham, with around half of all major centres specialising in paediatric oncology now using it.

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