Two-thirds of survivors of childhood cancer will experience long-term side effects from treatment, which may include difficulties with memory and learning. Dr Brian Nieman and his team are studying brain structure and function in children with leukemia who underwent chemotherapy at a young age, in order to understand the brain changes caused by this treatment.

Because children with leukemia receive a combination of drugs, Dr Nieman will also study each drug individually to determine its effect on the brain. He hopes his team can isolate the ones most harmful for brain development.

“By better understanding how each chemotherapy drug impacts the developing brain, in the future we might be able to change treatments or provide therapy after treatment to improve these children’s quality of life,” he says.