A beautiful skeleton for all (even after radiotherapy)!

This project was selected in the framework of our fourth European call: FIGHT KIDS CANCER 2023. It is jointly financed by Imagine for Margo, Kriibskrank Kanner Fondatioun, CRIS Cancer Foundation, KiKa and KickCancer.

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One third of children with cancer will undergo radiotherapy as part of their standard treatments.

Children with cancer, unlike adults, are still in development, which makes them very sensitive to radiations. As a result, radiation therapy can cause many long-term side effects: short stature, irregular body proportions, leg-length differences, or spinal curvature.

These disorders are called skeletal late-effects, and when they are very severe, they can be painful and debilitating, whilst milder forms can still disrupt routine activities for survivors.

Irradiations on a growing bone can reduce its growth or cause one side of the bone to grow more than the other, making it curve. Growing bones are not normally the intended target of radiotherapy. Unfortunately, as radiation oncologists often cannot entirely avoid this growing bone, they will intentionally irradiate it as evenly as possible to reduce the risk of curving.

More than 2,750 European children will receive spinal irradiation every year. The consequences are severe, with reduced final height and irregular body proportions. Despite radiation oncologists´ best efforts, approximately 900 of these children will still develop spinal curvature.

When the skeleton stops growing at the end of puberty, these changes become permanent, and these childhood cancer survivors have limited treatment options. Given that the long-term survival of these patients is increasing, tens of thousands of individuals will be affected over the course this century.

For this project, researchers will develop state-of-the-art models to understand the underlying causes of radiation damage to the growing skeleton and test strategies to prevent the development of skeletal late effects.

A beautiful skeleton for all (even after radiotherapy)!

  • Financed: €499 000
    More than 85% of your donations go to financing research and supporting our advocacy work, less than 15% go to administration.
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Countries: Sweden, Switzerland
  • Disease: Radiotherapy side-effect
  • Status: Ongoing

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