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Derek Tsang and Fiona Schulte – 2019 Feature Grant Recipients

Derek Tsang and Fiona Schulte, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Project Title: “Prospective Quality-of-Life Study of Children Treated with Repeat Radiotherapy for Brain Tumours (QoL-ReRT)”

Project Summary:

Derek Tsang and Fiona Schulte - 2019 Feature Grant ResearchersChildren with recurrent brain tumours have few efficacious treatment options available. Repeat irradiation for such brain cancers is a potential therapeutic option but has not been adequately studied, and there is very limited data on quality of life after treatment for these children. In this prospective study, we will measure children’s quality of life before and after treatment to determine a) whether quality of life and symptoms are maintained or improved with repeat irradiation; b) what side effects are occurring and their severity; c) whether the course of repeat irradiation was successful at controlling the recurrent brain tumour. Our goal is to accrue 32 children over a 2-year time period across Canada. Results from this study will inform doctors about the usefulness of repeat irradiation so that we can offer this novel treatment to patients who may derive the most benefit from this approach.

What receiving this award means:

 “My team and I are immensely grateful to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for their support of our research. There is currently a dearth of high-quality data on whether a repeat course of radiation treatment is able to help children with recurrent brain cancer. Quality-of-life is immensely important to the patients and families who are affected by such tumours. The funding from Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada will allow us to study these children so that others may benefit from, and build upon this research. Because this area of study is sub-specialized, carrying out this quality-of-life research initiative would not have been possible without Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.”

Midpoint Report – March 2022

Status across Canada

At present, our multi-institutional study is open at four sites:

  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Toronto
  • Montreal

To improve patient accrual rates, we are in the process of working with brain tumour researchers at the following additional sites:

  • London
  • Ottawa
  • Halifax

Trial activities had been delayed due to shutdown of clinical and research activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for most of 2020. Our study-wide accrual has been as follows:

Year / Accrual

  • 2021 – 5
  • 2020 – 2
  • 2019 – 3

Our goal is to increase annual accrual rates going forward in 2022 and 2023. We are optimistic that this will be attained, given broad resumption of clinical trial activities across cancer centres in Canada, aided by our efforts to open the study in more cities across Canada.

Interim Report – January 2023

Thank you to the Brain Tumour Foundation for your continued support. Our study is now open at six sites across Canada:

  • Alberta Children’s Hospital (Calgary)
  • McMaster Children’s Hospital (Halifax)
  • Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto)
  • CHU de Quebec-Université Laval (Quebec City)
  • Children’s Hospital for Eastern Ontario (Ottawa)
  • IWK Health Centre (Halifax)

Current accrual for stratum 2 of the study (the stratum that is funded by the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada) is 7 patients, six from SickKids and one from IWK. Our goal is to continue study accrual going forward in 2023 and 2024. We will continue to raise awareness of the study with Canadian health care providers at monthly National Brain Tumour Rounds.

Interim Report – December 2023

Our national quality of life study is now open at nine sites across Canada, as of December 1, 2023:

  • Alberta Children’s Hospital (Calgary)
  • Cross Cancer Institute (Edmonton)
  • Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto)
  • Montreal Children’s Hospital (Montreal)
  • Lawson Health Research Institute (London)
  • McMaster Children’s Hospital (Hamilton)
  • Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa)
  • CHU de Quebec – Université Laval (Quebec City)
  • IWK Health Centre (Halifax)

Current accrual for stratum 2 of the study (which is funded by the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada) is 10 patients. Study-wide accrual, including patients enrolled in a related study for brainstem glioma, is 16 patients. We aim to continue to accrue children to this important study.