Grants and awards
KWF Young Investigator grant (500.000 euro) by Alpe d’HuZes/KWF for Lara Barazzuol
Title: Preventing radiation-induced neurocognitive dysfunction in patients with paediatric brain tumours: biological mechanisms and potential role of proton therapy
Project Leader: Lara Barazzuol
Date: 17 August 2017
Brain tumours account for more than 20% of childhood cancers and are the most common form of solid tumours in children. Impairment of neurocognitive functioning is the main cause of reduced quality of life in long-term survivors of childhood brain tumours. Unfortunately, radiotherapy remains one of the major contributors to the development of neurocognitive dysfunction.
The proposed project focuses on assessing the effect of radiation dose on defined brain areas/domains in terms of neurocognitive dysfunction and aims to achieve an improved understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms. Our findings will provide a better foundation for the radiation treatment plan aimed at minimizing the risk of neurocognitive decline, while also identifying potential targets for pharmacological intervention. This will guide future clinical trials using modern radiotherapy techniques, in particular proton therapy. This is an especially timely study as all paediatric indications for proton therapy in the Netherlands will be referred to the UMC Groningen Proton Therapy Center (GPTC), which will be operational by the end of 2017.
Lara Barazzuol receives Zon MW Off Road grant of 100.000 euro
Title: An improved understanding of radiotherapy-induced neurocognitive decline
Project leader: Lara Barazzuol
Date: 17 August 2017
Radiotherapy is applied in the treatment of many cancers, including primary and metastatic brain tumours. However, when using radiotherapy, irradiation of normal brain tissue is unavoidable. This leads to significant and often irreversible side effects that can severely compromise quality of life, including neurocognitive decline, impairments in memory, attention, execution function and motor coordination.
Every year in the Netherlands, over 5000 cancer patients can develop radiotherapy-induced neurocognitive decline. The pathogenesis of radiation-induced neurocognitive decline is not fully understood and, at present, there is no effective treatment.
This project aims at identifying critical sub-regions in the adult brain that need to be spared in order to mitigate neurotoxicity after radiotherapy, and hence exposing the underlying biological mechanisms.