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Paediatric neuro oncology

Brain tumours are one of the most common childhood cancers, accounting for over 20% of all cases, and they collectively remain the leading cause of cancer-related death and long-term illness in this age group.

Current treatments aim to maintain or improve survival outcomes, while minimising toxicity and subsequent long-term side effects. However, specialists now face a problem; new treatments are not forthcoming, while intensifying available treatment is unlikely to improve survival progress, instead only producing additional toxicity.

To address this, attention has now focused on improving our understanding of childhood brain tumours through research.

Paediatric neuro oncology research at Manchester is based at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH) and The Christie, where professionals with a wealth of experience across a range of clinical and academic disciplines have set up a clinical and science-based research collaborative network.

Research aims

  • To improve understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that predispose to brain tumour development in children and young people.
  • To identify genetic alterations characteristic of individual brain tumour types and to understand their biological roles.
  • To shift treatment toward more targeted therapy.
  • To understand the personal, psychological and social challenges faced by young people with brain tumours.
  • To inform the neuro-oncology community of ideal standards of practice in aspects of paediatric neuro oncology care.


Our researchers are active in national and international collaborative activity required to run clinical trials.

They have roles as PIs on national trials and within the National Cancer Research Institute’s Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, as well as in international organisations such as the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP).

  • Dr John-Paul Kilday (RMCH)
  • Ian Kamaly (RMCH)
  • Dr Stavros Stivaros (RMCH)
  • Dr Anthony Penn (RMCH)
  • Dr Gill Whitfield (The Christie)
  • Dr Martin McCabe (The Christie and The University of Manchester)
  • Dr Stefan Meyer (The Christie and The University of Manchester)
  • Louise Robinson (RMCH)
  • Anna Kelsey (RMCH)