Medulloblastoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in young adults. This aggressive brain cancer has a huge impact on development including cognition, growth and emotional regulation. Currently, the most effective treatment for medulloblastoma is equally as aggressive, involving targeted chemotherapy coupled with radiation.
Radiation, considered to be the most important component of treatment, also comes with the most long-term side-effects on the developing brain. Dr Nick Gottardo is hoping his research will limit the side effects of treatment.
"The main side effects are centred on the brain, as that's where the treatment is focused. Children have problems with their growth, thyroid, puberty, and also with their hearing, their cognition, memory and processing speed because the brain took a hit when it was still developing."
We've been following young Kayden's journey since he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in late November 2005. He was just three years old at the time.
In March, Kayden celebrated his ‘10th year clear', which is incredible news after such a difficult journey, so early in his life. But sadly, the surgery, weeks of radiotherapy and intense chemotherapy, have had a lasting impact on his health.
"Every day we have reminders of what happened to our Kayde," said his mum, Stacey.
Dr Gottardo, who treats Kayden, would like to discover a safer alternative to radiation. He believes what genetic research is teaching us today, can hold the key.
"Since genome technology which has become available over the past 5 to 10 years, we now have the ability to really interrogate the tumour at a genetic level."
Researchers can now categorise the tumours into a range of subgroups. Testing which treatments work best for each subgroup is part of a clinical trial Dr Gottardo is currently undertaking.
"If you want to not just cure all children of brain cancer, but preserve their quality of life, then we have to invest in research," Dr Gottardo said.
Please help us raise $80,000 so more children like Kayden can have a real hope of surviving cancer and living a healthier life.
Your gift today will give Kayden and other young people affected by cancer hope-hope of not just surviving, but enjoying a healthier life after cancer.
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