Charity Help Harry Help Others has teamed up with Aston University to develop a pioneering pre-surgical diagnostic tool which could improve outcomes for children with brain tumours.
Birmingham-based Help Harry Help Others was founded by Georgie Moseley, following the passing of her son, Harry.
Despite fighting an inoperable brain tumour, Harry raised over £750,000 for cancer research in the last two years of his life, before he passed away on October 8, 2011, aged just 11 years old.
Now, through the charity’s HelpCure initiative, Help Harry Help Others are pledging £36,000 worth of funding to support an Aston University PhD student to complete their three years of study and research.
Timothy Mulvany will work alongside Dr Jan Novak, whose own study was funded in 2013 by Help Harry Help Others, before he went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher under Harry’s consultant, Professor Andrew Peet, based at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Now a lecturer in Psychology at Aston University, Dr Jan Novak will supervise Mulvany as they work on developing a tool that uses MRI data collected before surgery, in order to accurately diagnose the type of brain tumour a patient has.
In doing so, medical teams can advise on the surgical tumour removal, helping to minimise unnecessary follow-up therapies and reduce the likelihood of long-term deficits that have a devastating impact on patient health, education, and social development.
Dr Novak said:
“Early, accurate diagnosis of brain tumours in children can drastically improve both survival and eventual outcome.
“The development of a pre-surgical diagnostic tool has the potential for substantial clinical impact: it can improve surgical management, facilitate treatment planning, aid family discussions, minimise long-term impairments for patients, and reduce NHS costs associated with non-essential additional therapies.”
Integral to Harry’s mission was to raise funds to help research projects find a cure for brain tumours.
Currently, research into brain tumours makes up just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research and yet across the UK, more children and people under the age of 40 die of a brain tumour, than any other cancer.
The Help Harry Help Others HelpCure initiative has so far given over £240,000 worth of funding to research projects.
Mulvany said of his PhD funding:
“I’m extremely eager and motivated to develop and utilise my existing knowledge, applying it in a way which will hopefully make a difference to children’s health.
“I hope to do everything I can in my research to improve the set of tools available when diagnosing children, and hopefully have a positive impact on the treatment they receive.”
Georgie Moseley of Help Harry Help Others said:
“Being able to work with Aston University and help fund the next generation of doctors, consultants and professors in undertaking research, is just one way we can keep the hope for finding a cure alive.
“If Harry’s passing plays a part in a cure for brain tumours being found, then what a wonderful legacy.”
Image: Richard Battye
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