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Feasibility of whole-body MRI for cancer surveillance in children and young people with Ataxia Telangiectasia

What we are doing?

The inherited syndrome Ataxia Telangiectasia (‘A-T’ for short) places affected children at very high risk of developing cancer.  MRI scanning is a safe way to diagnose many diseases, including cancers.  The research team believes that whole body MRI would be a good way to detect cancers in these children, allowing treatments to be started earlier. Therefore, we will invite children and young people with A-T and their families to participate in our study. We will explore their concerns regarding whole body MRI for cancer surveillance. We will also evaluate the image quality obtained and whether the scans can detect possible cancers.

Why we are doing it?

There are no guidelines for cancer screening in children and young people with A-T, despite the high cancer risk. However, before conducting a full-scale trial that will inform the current lack of evidence-based guidelines, it is important to know whether cancer surveillance in children and young people with A-T using whole-body MRI is feasible and desirable. Therefore, we would like to know if children and young people with A-T can successfully have whole-body MRI scans, what findings will be shown in the MRI and what are the views of the participants and their families regarding cancer surveillance programme. 

What the benefits will be and to whom?

This project will hopefully demonstrate that whole-body MRI scan for cancer surveillance in children and young people is feasible, acceptable to the target population and does not add an extra psychological burden.  The results will be used directly to support the development of a large trial that will aim to establish efficacy and cost effectiveness of cancer surveillance in childhood A-T. This trial will be a multicentre international trial involving a network of specialist A-T centres.  

We hope that our study will be the first step towards the development of international guidelines for cancer surveillance in children and young people with A-T. 

Who we are working with?

The research team involves a team of experts in several areas, such as: experienced paediatric radiologists, MRI physicist, experienced paediatric oncologists, health psychology specialists, clinical genetics specialists, A-T specialists and MRI radiographer. We will work closely with UK Paediatric A-T clinic, Action for A-T group and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. We will also work with University of Nottingham.  


Renata Neves, Senior MRI Radiographer / PhD student, Nottingham University of hospitals NHS Trust / University of Nottingham,