- Local charity helps fund research to develop diagnostic tool for children with brain tumours
- Help Harry Help Others charity pledged £36K to fund Aston University PhD at the Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment
- Diagnostic tool to help diagnose type of brain tumour prior to surgery and improve surgical management
Birmingham based charity, Help Harry Help Others and Aston University researchers, are working together to develop a pioneering pre-surgical diagnostic tool, which could see the eventual outcome of children with brain tumours drastically improve.
Help Harry Help Others was founded by Georgie Moseley, following the passing of her son Harry. Despite fighting an inoperable brain tumour, Harry raised over £750,000 for cancer research in the last two years of his life, before he passed away on 8th October 2011, aged just 11 years old.
Now through the charity’s HelpCure initiative, Help Harry Help Others are pledging £36,000 of funding to support an Aston University PhD student at Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment to complete three years of study and research.
Timothy Mulvany will work with Dr Jan Novak, whose own study was funded in 2013 by Help Harry Help Others, before he went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher under Harry’s consultant, Professor Andrew Peet who is based at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Dr Jan Novak, who is now a lecturer in Psychology at Aston University, will supervise Timothy as they focus on developing a tool that uses MRI data collected before surgery, in order to accurately diagnose the type of brain tumour a patient has. Such a tool will allow medical teams to advise on the surgical tumour removal, helping to minimise unnecessary follow-up therapies and reduce the likelihood of long-term deficits that have devastating effects on patient health, education and social development.
Dr Novak said: “Early, accurate diagnosis of brain tumours in children can drastically improve both survival and eventual outcome. Although medical imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is used to locate tumours prior to surgery, conclusive diagnosis is currently only possible via post-surgical testing. This post-surgical diagnosis limits the success of initial tumour removal.
"The development of a pre-surgical diagnostic tool has the potential for substantial clinical impact. It can improve surgical management, facilitate treatment planning, aid family discussions, minimise long-term impairments for patients and reduce NHS costs associated with non-essential additional therapies.”
Part of Harry's mission was to raise funds to help research projects find a cure for brain tumours. Currently, research into brain tumours makes up just 1% of the national spend on cancer research and yet across the UK, more children and people under the age of 40 die of a brain tumour, than any other cancer. The Help Harry Help Others HelpCure initiative has so far provided over £240,000 of funding to other research projects.
The research will be carried out at Aston Institute for Health and Neurodevelopment (IHN), a key research institute at Aston University which focuses on children’s health. IHN researchers have access to advanced neuroimaging and scanning facilities, to help facilitate the vast array of research being undertaken. The centre hosts Care Quality Commission registered clinical services, which help create a rich hub of opportunity for world-leading research and the education of young scholars. Members of IHN strive to generate world-leading translational neuroscience research.
Timothy said: “I’m eager and motivated to develop and utilise my existing knowledge, applying it in a way which will hopefully make a difference to children’s health. I hope to do everything I can in my research to improve the set of tools available when diagnosing children and hopefully have a positive impact on the treatment they receive.”
Georgie Moseley, founder of Help Harry Help Others added: “Continuing research into brain tumours is paramount if we are ever going to find a cure for this devastating disease. When my son Harry was ill and undergoing treatment, I was in awe of these fantastic individuals who were tirelessly looking after him and exploring new ways in which we could treat his tumour. Sadly, Harry passed in 2011, but his fight for winning the battle against cancer lives on through the charity.
"Being able to work with Aston University and help fund the next generation of doctors, consultants and professors in their research is just one way we can keep the hope for finding a cure alive. If Harry’s passing plays a part in a cure for brain tumours being found, then what a wonderful legacy.”
The charity will continue with its fundraising efforts to raise yearly funds towards the studentship programme, including the 2023 Birmingham Walkathon which will take place on Sunday 2 April.
For more information about Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment please visit our website.
- Notes to editors
About Aston University
Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.
In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.
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About Help Harry Help Others
Help Harry Help Others became a registered charity in September 2012 and was founded by Georgie Moseley, following the passing of her son Harry. Despite fighting an inoperable brain tumour, Harry raised over £750,000 for cancer research in the last two years of his life, before he passed away on 8th October 2011, aged just 11 years old.
Georgie was frustrated by the lack of support in the community for families affected by cancer, and so set about making Harry's campaign, 'Help Harry Help Others' a charity structured around where her family knew more support was needed.
In 2018, Georgie launched Birmingham’s first Drop in Cancer support centre, a unique service of its kind offering over 20 services to support families in every aspect outside of treatment, from mental wellbeing to finances and housing. This now helps over 1,100 adults and children affected by any type of cancer. The charity has helped over 1500 families and in 2019, HHHO achieved its £1 million of giving.
Help Harry Help Others
About Birmingham Walkathon 2023
The Birmingham Walkathon will return on Sunday 2nd April 2023. The Walkathon, which started in 1983 and last took place in 2013, will offer participants three route options to complete, ensuring all ages and abilities are able to get involved. The first option will be the full number 11 bus route, 26 miles starting and finishing at either Kings Heath Park or Rookery Park. There is also the 11 mile route and a new, fully inclusive option which will comprise of one, three or five laps around Kings Heath Park.
The Walkathon, which was created by former BRMB Director and original event visionary, David Bagley, also aims to reduce isolation and tackle loneliness, by creating a ‘Buddy check in area’ for people attending alone. The specially developed area means those individuals can meet others in the same situation and hopefully walk together and form lifelong friendships.
The Walkathon will be raising much needed funds for Help Harry Help Others, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, NSPCC Birmingham, Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid, All Making A Difference and Birmingham Mind.
How to get involved in the Birmingham Walkathon:
Take part - Register for the walk you would like to complete by signing up here
Become a volunteer - Register your interest in becoming a volunteer here