About Children’s Brain Tumours

At the Centre we are researching different types of children's brain tumours. Our research pipeline aims to transform treatments for children with these cancers.


Ependymoma is a type of brain and spinal cord tumour and is the third most common brain tumour in children. Ependymoma are most common in children under 5 years old and occur more frequently in boys than in girls.  Ependymomas usually start from ependymal cells. These cells line the fluid filled areas of the brain (ventricles) and the spinal cord. There are different subtypes of ependymoma and with 40% of the cases currently being incurable, this disease is a tricky one to research. In the Centre we are working on finding new treatments for an aggressive subtype of supratentorial ependymoma called ZFTA-RELA.

Please visit the Cancer Research UK website for more information on ependymomas.

Choroid Plexus Carcinoma

Choroid plexus carcinomas (CPC) are aggressive malignant tumours of the central nervous system occurring mainly in young children under the age of 1. Advances in the clinical and molecular stratification for many types of childhood brain tumours have provided a foundation for risk-adapted treatment planning and improvements in outcome.  There are numerous barriers to understanding the best treatments strategies in children with CPC. Currently, the outcome of patients remains guarded and treatments have been based on case series and expert opinions, with no established “standard of care”. Work at the Centre is aimed at improving the outcomes for patients with CPC through achieving a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying the formation of this disease and through carrying out pre-clinical studies.


Medulloblastoma develops in the back of the brain, the cerebellum and is one of the most common cancerous childhood brain tumours, accounting for 15-20% of all childhood brain tumour diagnoses. Around 52 children are diagnosed with a medulloblastoma each year in the UK. These tumours are fast growing and develop at the back of the brain and can often metastatise (spread) to other areas of the brain and spinal cord.

There are four subtypes of medulloblastoma, wingless (WNT) medulloblastoma, sonic hedgehog (SHH) medulloblastoma, Group 3 and Group 4 medulloblastoma.  Work at the Centre focuses on WNT, Group 3 and Group 4 subtypes looking at new targets, designing new drugs and pre-clinical models of these cancers.

Please visit the Cancer Research UK website for more information on medulloblastomas and current standard of care for treatment.


Gliomas are the most common type of brain and spinal cord tumour in children and around 175 children are diagnosed with glioma each year in the UK. These cancers develop from a type of glial cell called an astrocyte and can be classed as high grade or low grade. They can start anywhere in the brain and spinal cord. There are three main subtypes of glioma; circumscribed pilocytic astrocytoma, diffuse low grade glioma and high grade glioma. Tumour cells that are very abnormal looking are high grade. High grade tumours are rapidly growing and can more easily metastasise (spread) to other parts of the brain.  Work in the Centre focuses on high grade gliomas as these have a poor prognosis and the main challenges of these tumours are the lack of effective treatments and tumour recurrence following the development of resistance to current treatment options. To improve the outlook for patients with high grade glioma we are working to develop more effective therapies and to identify the mechanisms underlying tumour resistance.

Please visit the Cancer Research UK website for more information on gliomas, their diagnosis and current treatment strategies.

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