The incidence of childhood cancer increased through the second half of the twentieth century and continues to increase today.
Incredible progress has been made in treating childhood cancers but the pace of progress has now slowed and a substantial minority of patients are failed by therapy and do not survive.
In addition, the tremendous gains in survival have been achieved through the use of increasingly intensive treatment regimens, putting young patients at risk of adverse, treatment-related effects.
- We want to understand more about why children develop cancer, to find explanations for the increase in risk and to establish whether prevention is a possibility.
- We want to drive forward the development of novel approaches to diagnosis, identification of markers of likely outcome and improved treatments for childhood cancer in order to tackle those forms which still elude successful treatment and to minimise the risk of adverse, treatment-related effects.
- We want to understand more about the long-term risks faced by childhood cancer survivors, of whom there are now more than 30,000 in the UK.
Read more: Our full research strategy
In 2015, we made grants of £4.39 million for research into childhood cancer (2014: £4.04 million).
In 2016, we will spend more than £5 million.
We award grants to institutions such as universities, medical and scientific research centres, and hospitals.
Only researchers based at institutions in the UK can apply for funding. We fund research overseas only if it is part of a collaboration being led from the UK.
Part of the criteria for the award of a grant is that there is adequate infrastructure to support the proposed work.
Read more: Funding opportunities
Our research strategy sets out the key areas of research we have decided we need to focus on.
Grant applications are invited via our different funding streams such as our Brain Tumour Initiative, Fellowhsips etc. These applications are rigorously assessed by members of our Scientific Advisory Panel with the assistance of expert external reviewers from around the world.
Children with Cancer UK is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). The AMRC sets minimum standards of good practice to which member charities must adhere in their grant-making, including policies on peer review.
Visit AMRC website
Read more: Our peer review and assessment processes
We keep in touch with grant-holders during the period of their grant to monitor their progress and keep track of findings.
Under our terms and conditions of funding, all grant-holders must provide annual reports on the progress of their project and a final report at the end of the grant.
We endeavour to visit each project at least once during the course of the grant – to meet the research team, inspect the research facilities and check on the progress of the work.
We place great importance on the dissemination of results, so that those working in the field can learn from other people’s research.
We closely monitor the progress of the projects we fund and encourage scientists to publish the results of their work where possible.
We provide additional funding for researchers to travel to conferences and meetings to present their work and discuss their findings.
We also host conferences and scientific workshops to bring together those engaged in childhood cancer research. In February 2016, we held a specialist workshop on drug delivery in childhood brain tumours; in September 2016 we are hosting our fourth international conference Childhood Cancer 2016, where a number of our grant-holders will present results from their research.
Read more: Workshop on drug delivery in childhood brain tumours
Childhood Cancer 2016 conference website
Children with Cancer UK is a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC). We support the principle of using animals in research when it is necessary to advance understanding of health and disease and to develop new treatments; we want to find improved treatments that will cure even the hardest-to-treat forms of childhood cancer, causing minimal side effects for the child. This research only takes place where there is no alternative available; projects are only funded by us after rigorous assessment that specifically addresses the proposed use of animals.
All AMRC member charities support this principle, as outlined in this statement:
AMRC statement on the use of animals in research
All research carried out in the UK involving animals is tightly regulated by the Home Office.
We have never funded any research using human embryos.
We have funded some work involving human embryonic stem cells.
References to the use of ‘stem cells’ in our research generally refer to blood stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells.