University experts back campaign for state-of-the-art brain scanner

David Walker and Richard Grundypr
21 Mar 2018 10:47:05.930

During Brain Tumour Awareness Month (March), researchers at The University of Nottingham are backing a campaign to provide new state-state-of-the-art scanning equipment for children undergoing intricate brain surgery.

Led by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, the Big Appeal is an ambitious, phased campaign which aims to transform paediatric scanning and imaging services at Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

The campaign to provide the new state-of-the-art MRI scanner will be launched at an event with the hospital’s paediatric neurosurgical team and parents of children on Wednesday 21 March at the Queen’s Medical Centre.

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The appeal for the iMRI is part of an important partnership between Nottingham Hospitals Charity, which fundraises for Nottingham Hospitals, and the University of Nottingham. In total, the two organisations are aiming to raise £2.8 million to provide the state-of-the-art iMRI.

Professor Richard Grundy from the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, at The University of Nottingham, said: "Access to high quality imaging linked to biological data and clinical outcomes is invaluable to researchers. With patient and families consent, advanced Magnetic Resonance imaging translational research will help us to improve our understanding of brain tumours and identify new options for treatment and care."

Leading Paediatric Neurosurgeon, Donald MacArthur, said: “It is incredible to think that with modern treatment 70 percent of children can be cured of their brain tumours.

“Using an MRI during operations, or what we surgeons call an intra-operative i-MRI, is a significant benefit as it can help us completely remove tumours whenever there is the possibility of doing this. This is why I am backing the campaign so that we achieve the best possible outcomes for our young patients.”

Nottingham Children’s Hospital, based at QMC, is the leading regional centre for children’s neurosurgery, with over 1,000 MRI scans on children each year including those with life-threatening brain cancer. Staff, supporters and families are already getting behind the campaign, naming it the Big iMRI Appeal with the Children’s Hospital’s ‘Little Robin’ mascot shown sitting on an MRI waiting for his scan.

Saving lives

Four-year-old Olivia Fern was first diagnosed with brain cancer when she was sixteen months old. Dad David Fern has lots of praise for the commitment of the paediatric neurosurgery team at the Children’s Hospital and strong views on the vital importance of getting an iMRI in Nottingham:

“The professionalism and the capabilities of Mr MacArthur are unbelievable – to be able to do in-depth operations on a brain that’s so small, and her tumours were around the brain stem so the slightest slip and she would be permanently damaged. The skill of the man, and the knowledge, is just fantastic.

“I think the iMRI will save lives and reduce the amount of operations. It can make the difference of being able to remove all of the tumour or most of the tumour in one go, in one operation – rather than having to wait, re-scan and then re-operate to remove a little bit more.”

Stephanie Smith, Clinical Director for Nottingham Children’s Hospital, said: “Each year Nottingham Children’s Hospital helps over 60,000 children and young people from Nottingham and across the East Midlands who have health issues ranging from cancer, leukaemia and kidney disease, to brittle bones, spinal problems, respiratory issues or who need organ transplants.

“By promoting this amazing work through the Big Appeal’s key phases such as the Big Neonatal Appeal and Big iMRI Appeal we will be able to deliver major transformation for our children’s hospital services here in Nottingham.”

Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, Barbara Cathcart whose team is leading the Big Appeal fundraising campaign stressed the extent of the transformation that the £4 million four-year appeal will have: “It has been wonderful to see how the community of Nottingham has rallied behind us and we have already raised over £800,000.

“This has enabled us to fund things like new state-of-the-art paediatric respiratory testing equipment, as well as pay for the refurbishment this spring to all our onsite emergency parent accommodation which provides a lifeline for parents to be near very poorly children when they’re in hospital.”

The Big Appeal’s target is to raise £4 million over four years. Public who want to support The Big Appeal can either donate by texting ‘NUHC13’ and either £1, £2, £3, £5 or £10 to 70010 to choose their amount, or can go to the Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Big Appeal or can call the Charity’s team on 0115 962 7905 to make a donation.

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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


Story credits

More information is available from Susan Littlemore at Nottingham Hospitals Charity by email at

Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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