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MEMCRT: Memantine to Prevent Thinking Problems in Children Receiving Radiation for Certain Brain Tumors

About this study

Children with brain tumors who have had radiation therapy are at risk for problems with attention, memory and problem solving. These problems may cause difficulty in school and daily life. In this clinical trial, researchers want to find out if a drug called memantine can help prevent these kinds of problems in children and young adults with the following kinds of localized brain tumors: low-grade glioma, craniopharyngioma, ependymoma and germ cell tumors. This would be the first study of memantine in children with localized brain tumors.

Memantine has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in children. However, earlier studies have shown it may improve memory for patients with dementia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. Scientists have also used this drug in adult cancer patients going through radiation therapy. They found patients had fewer thinking problems over time, compared to patients taking pills with no medicine in them (placebos). These studies have shown few side effects.

Eligibility overview

  • Between 6 and 21 years old
  • Diagnosis of localized low-grade glioma, craniopharyngioma, ependymoma, meningioma or germ cell tumor
  • Initiating cranial radiation therapy (photon or proton)
  • Able to swallow pills
  • Participant and parent/legal guardian speak, read and understand English
  • Normal ECG and laboratory tests
  • Adequate vision and hearing

The above information is intended to provide only a basic description about a research protocol that may be currently active at St. Jude. The details made available here may not be the most up-to-date information on protocols used by St. Jude. To receive full details about a protocol and its status and or use at St. Jude, a physician must contact St. Jude directly.


Full title:

Memantine for Prevention of Cognitive Late Effects in Pediatric Patients Receiving Cranial Radiation Therapy for Localized Brain Tumors: A Pilot Study

Study goal:

Researchers want to find out how often families participate and how well patients take the medicine as prescribed. They also want to find out the side effects of the medicine and how often they may happen. Researchers also want to know if patients will complete the psychological testing for the study. In addition, they want to find out how neurological symptoms and thinking skills change when patients take memantine during radiation treatment for localized brain tumors.


Between 6 and 21 years old

For physicians and researchers

Patients accepted to St. Jude must be referred by a physician or other qualified medical professional. Learn how St. Jude can partner with you to care for your patient.


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