Current neuroblastoma projects

Neuroblastoma is the second most common type of solid tumour in children, affecting around 100 children a year in the UK.

Incidence is highest in very young children – it is the most common type of cancer to occur in the first year of life.

More than a third of neuroblastoma patients do not survive, despite intensive treatment.

Read more: About neuroblastoma

We are funding a number of projects aimed at improving the outlook for children with neuroblastoma:

Evaluation of B7H3 as a novel target for immunotherapy in childhood cancer

Isabelle Gore 24 May 2016
Dr Kathleen Birley, UCL Institute of Child Health

Kathleen Birley was awarded a Clinical Studentship in December 2015 - our first such studentship - to support her research into a new immunotherapy approach for childhood cancers.

She is focusing on a protein called B7H3 which is present on cancers including neuroblastoma and the brain tumour DIPG; it is hoped that this may represent a new target for the treatment of these cancers.

Background – the need for new treatments One of the difficulties in developing new treatments for childhood cancers is finding ways to attack the cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. This is an importa...
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Improved radiation treatment of neuroblastoma

Isabelle Gore 14 September 2015
Professor Rob Mairs, University of Glasgow

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that mainly affects very young children. Patients whose neuroblastoma has spread at the time of diagnosis have a poor outlook; their disease is difficult to eradicate even with intensive treatment. This work aims to enhance the effectiveness of treatment by combining radioactive drugs currently used in neuroblastoma treatment with drugs that can sensitise neuroblastoma cells to radiation damage.

Amount of grant: £189,043 | Date of award: May 2015 
Overview Neuroblastoma is a cancer that arises in nerve tissue of infants and very young children. Although neuroblastoma ma...
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Accelerating the delivery of personalised treatment to children with neuroblastoma using MRI

Isabelle Gore 18 September 2014
Dr Yann Jamin, The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Effective and safe treatments for children with neuroblastoma are urgently required. Neuroblastoma is the second most common solid tumour in childhood, accounting for six per cent of all childhood cancers, just under 100 children a year in the UK.

Promising novel therapies are currently being evaluated in the clinic. However there is a crucial need to accelerate the evaluation process that take these promising drugs from the laboratory bench to the children’s bedside.

Yann is looking at ways of transferring techniques now routinely used in adult cancers to use in children through the...
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Development of new treatments for children with high-risk neuroblastoma

Isabelle Gore 26 June 2014
Professor Louis Chesler, The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Neuroblastoma has a high-risk form that, despite intensive treatment, has a very poor outlook. The aim of this project is to develop new treatments that kill neuroblastoma cells by targeting the specific gene associated with this high-risk disease but, importantly, do not harm normal cells. This could improve survival in young patients whilst reducing the risk of treatment-related harm.

Amount of grant: £249,675 | Date of award: June 2014
Overview Neuroblastoma, a cancer that originates in developing nerve cells, is the second most common solid tumour to occur in children...
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Establishing new ways to eliminate childhood neuroblastoma

Isabelle Gore 01 March 2013
Dr Karim Malik, University of Bristol

Neuroblastoma is one of the most common childhood cancers and more than a third of patients do not survive. A major problem with treatment is that neuroblastomas that are initially responsive to treatment often relapse. Dr Malik is working to understand more about the mechanisms of neuroblastoma growth and development in order to open up new approaches to treatment.

Amount of grant: £143,702  |  Date of award:  March 2013 Overview Although the treatment of many childhood cancers has improved dramatically, certain cancers, including neuroblastoma, still have a poor prognosis.

Neuroblastoma is one of ...
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Engineering immune cells for the optimal eradication of neuroblastoma

Isabelle Gore 01 March 2013
Dr David Gilham, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Manchester

Neuroblastoma is one of the most common solid tumours to occur in children. It can be exceptionally difficult to treat and, despite intensive treatment, around one third of patients cannot currently be cured. In this project, Dr Gilham is harnessing the power of the immune system by engineering specific immune cells to destroy tumour cells. He will lay the essential groundwork in the laboratory to enable progression to clinical trial in children.

Amount of grant: £183,706  |  Date of award: March 2013 Overview Neuroblastoma is one of the most common solid tumours to occu...
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Combination treatments for neuroblastoma

Larry McCarthy 01 June 2012
Dr Andrew Stoker, UCL Institute of Child Health

Neuroblastoma is one of the most common childhood cancers. It has a high-risk form that is difficult to cure, despite intensive treatment.

This project aims to deliver a better understanding of ways to treat this devastating disease.


Amount of grant: £69,244*  |  Date of award: June 2012

The team
Dr Andrew Stoker, Dr Stephen Hart, Dr Thomas Jacques & Professor Neil Sebire, UCL Insitute of Child Health. Background Neuroblastoma – a nerve tumour - is one of the most common childhood cancers, with around 100 children diagnosed every year in the UK. Most of these children are under the age ...
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Assessment of MIBG therapy in combination with cytotoxic drugs for neuroblastoma

Larry McCarthy 01 June 2012
Professor Rob Mairs, University of Glasgow

Neuroblastoma, one of the most common childhood cancers, is often not diagnosed until it has spread to other parts of the body. At this stage it is very difficult to treat. A form of radiotherapy known as MIBG therapy has generated long-term remissions but cannot cure advanced disease. Professor Mairs is exploring the use of MIBG therapy in combination with chemotherapy drugs to develop a new, more effective approach.

Amount of grant: £79,429*  |  Date of award: June 2012

The team
Professor Rob Mairs & Dr Colin Rae, University of Glasgow; Dr Mark Gaze, University College London Hospitals.
Backgr...
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Immunotherapy for high-risk neuroblastoma

Larry McCarthy 01 June 2012
Professor John Anderson, UCL Institute of Child Health, London

Neuroblastoma is one of the most common childhood tumours. It has a high-risk form that is one of the most difficult childhood cancers to cure, despite intensive therapy. This project aims to harness a new immunotherapy approach to develop a treatment strategy for high-risk neuroblastoma that is more effective and less toxic than current approaches.

Amount of grant: £151,195*  |  Date of award: June 2012

The team
Professor John Anderson, Dr Martin Pule & Dr Karin Straatfhof, UCL Institute of Child Health; Professor Louis Chesler, Institute of Cancer Research; Professor Kerry Ch...
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Targeted therapies for childhood cancer

Larry McCarthy 01 July 2011
Dr Darren Hargrave,  Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children

Although modern treatments enable doctors to cure more than three quarters of children diagnosed with cancer, cancer remains one of the main causes of childhood death with most deaths resulting from a group of high-risk cancers. The team is trying to improve survival for high-risk patients by developing a new experimental programme to facilitate the introduction of new therapies.

Award amount: £198,011  |  Date of award: July 2011

Dr Darren Hargrave and Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
Overview Modern treatments enable doctors to...
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