A new research programme, funded by Children with Cancer UK, Blue Skye Thinking and Little Hero, will aim to target the most common high-grade brain tumour in children – medulloblastoma.

The research project – named INSTINCT-MB – will be led by Newcastle University with over £700,000 in dedicated funding.

It will aim to develop ‘better and more effective’ treatments for medulloblastoma, which results in approximately 30% of childhood sufferers dying.

A specific challenge in childhood cancer is Group 3 medulloblastomas driven by the MYC gene – this tumour groups occurs almost exclusively in young children and is essentially incurable.

Although advances in standard treatments have helped to boost survival levels overall, these are not specific to tumour sub-types and are ineffective against MYC-Group 3 tumours.

The research project will aim to develop new treatments for Group 3 medulloblastoma, through the use f new drugs and CAR-T cell therapies.

INSTINCT-MB researchers have already identified potential drugs to target the MYC gene and have pioneered promising CAR-T cell therapies.

“We urgently need all-new treatment approaches for childhood cancer types with the poorest prognosis,” said professor Steve Clifford, principal investigator of the INSTINCT network.

By bringing together the essential network of world-leading experts necessary to develop such approaches targeted specifically against tumour biology and bring them to the clinic, we aim to bring about a step-change in the treatment and outlook for these patients”