At a glance

Understanding how cancer treatment in children affects long-term pain and the nervous system

Lead researcher

Dr Gareth Hathway


University of Nottingham



Amount awarded


Last updated



Dr Gareth Hathway aims to understand the mechanisms which lead to cancer pain, so that new therapies can be designed to improve quality of life of childhood cancer patients and survivors.

Dr Gareth Hathway from the University of Nottingham

Cancer and chemotherapies used for the treatment of cancer often damage pain-sensing nerves causing long-term pain beyond cancer treatment.

The exposure to significant pain and changes in nervous system development in childhood cancers can persist into adulthood which can affect cognition, mood and quality of life.

Cancer chemotherapies commonly work to stop cells dividing resulting in programmed cell death (apoptosis) of the tumour cells. These dying cancer cells release small fatty packets called extracellular vesicles (EVs) which contain cargoes of proteins, DNA and RNAs.

EVs release biologically active contents into surrounding tissue and circulation and are shown to be able to modify the biology of the ‘recipient’ cell and are known to alter neurodevelopment.

Dr Gareth Hathway from the University of Nottingham aims to advance understanding of how pain occurs during cancer treatment and how this changes the way the nervous system matures. His goal is to improve the quality of life for childhood cancer patients and adult childhood cancer survivors.

Dr Hathway’s study aims to understand the mechanisms that lead to cancer-related pain so that new therapies can be designed to combat them and reduce this lifelong burden.