The David Peake Study to test the feasibility of whole-body MRI for cancer surveillance in children and young people with Ataxia Telangiectasia

Research Project information

Principal researcher: Dr Rob Dineen
Institute: University of Nottingham
Cost: £100,556.59 over 24 months
Completion date: September 2023

Project Overview
Dr Rob Dineen and his team believe that the combination of an MRI scan of the whole body together with a blood test is a good way to find hidden cancers in children and young people with the inherited disease Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T).

Research Methods and Outcome
As part of this study, Dr Rob Dineen and his team carried out whole-body MRI scans in children and young people with A-T.  All the children and young people who had the scan tolerated it well.  The scan pictures were generally of good quality and allowed the team to check for possible cancer.  The scans did not find any cancers but show medical issues that required further medical checks to find out what they were and show that these weren’t cancers.

The team spoke to adults with A-T and parents of children with A-T to find out their views on cancer screening, and for those whose children had the scan, how they found the experience.  Families explained that the possibility of cancer caused anxiety and that they would welcome a screening programme because it would mean they weren’t the only ones watching out for the development of a cancer.  They also said that this needed to be thought about carefully to prepare children for the MRI scan, how to make the MRI scan experience as nice as possible, and how to communicate with parents and children about the cancer screening programme and MRI scan results.

What next?
The team that undertook this research have contacted A-T experts to get their views on cancer screening, and there is strong support for doing more research so that guidelines can be put in place.  They are now planning the next stage – a larger trial to see whether they can use this type of scan to find cancers earlier than would be detected if no screening is done.


  • Neves R, De Dios Perez B, Panek R, Jagani S, Wilne S, Bhatt JM, Caputi C, Cirillo E, Coman DJ, Dückers G, Gilbert DL, Kay Koenig M, Mansour L, McDermott E, Pauni M, Pignata C, Perlman SL, Porras O, Betina Porto M, Schon K, Soler-Palacin P, Nick Russo S, Takagi M, Tischkowitz M, Wainwright C, Dandapani M, Glazebrook C, Suri M, Whitehouse WP, Dineen RA. Development of cancer surveillance guidelines in Ataxia Telangiectasia: A Delphi-based consensus survey of international experts.  Cancer medicine. 2023 Jul;12(13):14663-14673. doi: 10.1002/cam4.6075
  • Neves R, Perez BD, Tindall T, Fernandez NS, Panek R, Wilne S, Suri M, Whitehouse W, Jagani S, Dandapani M, Dineen RA, Glazebrook C.  Whole-Body MRI for cancer surveillance in Ataxia Telangiectasia: A qualitative study of the perspectives of people affected by A-T and their families.  Health Expect. 2023 Jun;26(3):1358-1367. doi: 10.1111/hex.13756
  • 3 other publications are currently in draft.

This research project was part funded thanks to a generous donation from the David Peake Appeal. David lost his battle with Pancreatic Cancer in 2016 and his family chose to commit the funds raised by his work colleagues at Grange Aston Martin and Cambria Automobiles PLC towards this project.