Current research projects


Children with Cancer UK is one the UK’s leading funders of research into childhood cancer.

We fund a wide range of research into childhood cancers, including research into causes, treatments and long-term effects.


Current projects are listed below.

Understanding the genetics of paediatric glioblastoma

Isabelle Gore 18 May 2015
Dr Steven Pollard, University of Edinburgh

Paediatric glioblastoma is a devastating brain tumour that less than 20 per cent of young patients survive. This collaborative project brings together research teams from the UK, Canada and Sweden to define the role of a recently discovered genetic mutation in paediatric glioblastoma and determine whether it represents a possible target for a new therapeutic approach. The team will also create new cellular models of the disease for on-going drug-discovery efforts.  

Amount of grant: £357,589 | Date of award: March 2015
Overview Glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive form of brain tumour with an exc...
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Diagnosing childhood medulloblastomas by improved MRI scans

Isabelle Gore 18 May 2015
Professor Andrew Peet, University of Birmingham

Medulloblastomas are the most common childhood malignant brain tumours and only around 60 per cent of young patients survive. Different medulloblastoma subtypes respond differently to treatment and rapid diagnosis is essential to aid treatment planning. Professor Peet is working with colleagues from other UK centres to develop a new tool to allow rapid, non-invasive diagnosis that can inform critical initial treatment decisions.

Amount of grant: £499,681 | Date of award: March 2015
Overview Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumours in children. They have a poor prognosis...
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New tools to improve treatment and care in paediatric craniopharyngioma

Isabelle Gore 18 May 2015
Dr Juan Pedro Martinez-Barbera, UCL Institute of Child Health

Paediatric craniopharyngioma is a brain tumour that has high survival but can leave survivors with very poor quality of life. New, targeted treatments are urgently needed but progress is hampered by our poor understanding of the biology of these tumours. This collaborative project brings together teams from the UK and Germany to help profile these tumours and work towards the development of improved treatments.

Amount of grant: £458,728 | Date of award: March 2015
Overview Childhood craniopharyngioma (ACP) is an aggressive tumour of the pituitary gland that is associated with...
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BIOMarkers of Ependymomas in Children and Adolescents

Isabelle Gore 18 May 2015
Professor Richard Grundy, Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre, University of Nottingham

Ependymoma is a devastating brain tumour that kills up to 40 per cent of young patients, with little improvement over recent years. BIOMarkers of Ependymomas in Children and Adolescents (BIOMECA) is a unique partnership between leading European ependymoma specialists who are now collecting tumour samples from young patients being treated under the international ependymoma clinical trial. They are aiming to develop new risk categories and work towards the future personalisation of therapy.

Amount of grant: £494,498 | Date of award: March 2015 Overvi...
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Management of neurological side-effects in children with cancer

Isabelle Gore 11 May 2015
Dr Christina Halsey, University of Glasgow

Children with leukaemia and other cancers receive chemotherapy targeted to the brain to prevent disease recurrence at this site. This is a vital part of treatment but can cause damage to normal brain tissue, leading to reductions in IQ, attention span and working memory. Dr Halsey and colleagues are developing new tests to help predict which children are at increased risk of these brain-related complications. These tests may also be used to discover new ways of treating or preventing this devastating complication of childhood cancer treatment.

Amount of grant: £166,088 | Date of award: June 2014
...
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Developing models to test new drug treatments for childhood leukaemia

Isabelle Gore 11 May 2015
Dr Owen Williams, UCL Institute of Child Health

Despite improvements in survival, leukaemia remains one of the leading causes of death in childhood.

Dr Williams is focusing on the molecular biology of childhood leukaemia in order to identify new treatment approaches. He is working on the development of models that can accurately predict how certain childhood leukaemias respond to a new set of drugs. Ultimately this will improve the treatment options for children with leukaemia.

Amount of grant: £242,074 | Date of award: June 2014 Overview Leukaemia is the most common childhood cancer. Advances in treatment mean that more than 80 per cen...
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A new treatment approach for children with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma

Isabelle Gore 06 May 2015
Dr Chris Jones, The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is a childhood brain tumour that is almost universally fatal, with more than 90 per cent of children succumbing to their illness within 18 months of diagnosis.

This project is exploring the development of new treatment approaches targeting a newly-identified genetic mutation present in the tumour cells of some children with DIPG.

Amount of grant: £264,117 | Date of award: June 2014 Overview Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a devastating childhood cancer that few, if any, children survive. More than 90 per cent of children diagnosed with ...
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Targeting short pieces of genetic code to treat malignant germ cell tumours

Isabelle Gore 06 May 2015
Dr Matthew Murray, University of Cambridge

Malignant germ cell tumours are a varied group of tumours that occur mostly in the ovaries and testes but also at other sites including the brain. Dr Murray is focusing upon the development of a new treatment approach, targeting short pieces of genetic code known as microRNAs that are found at elevated levels in these tumours. Targeting microRNAs may be a ‘clean’, non-toxic therapy that could improve survival in young patients with germ cell tumours, with minimal risk of side effects.

Amount of grant: £149,252 | Date of award: June 2014 Overview Malignant germ cell tumours (GCTs) are a varied gr...
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Study of the side-effects of the anti-leukaemia drug Asparaginase

Isabelle Gore 06 May 2015
Dr Oleg Gerasimenko, Cardiff University

Asparaginase is an important drug used in the treatment of childhood leukaemia. However, in some children it causes pancreatitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

In this project, the team will examine the mechanisms underlying the development of pancreatitis and test new ways of reducing the side-effects of Asparaginase treatments.

Amount of grant: £248,436 | Date of award: June 2014
Overview Asparaginase is an anti-leukaemic drug, forming an important part of the chemotherapy regime of most young leukaemia patients.  

Asparaginase can, however, cause a life-threatening inflamm...
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Dr Zoë Walters, Institute of Cancer Research, London

Isabelle Gore 18 September 2014
Identifying new treatments for children with rhabdomyosarcoma
Every year in the UK around 70 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcomas, a cancer that resembles developing skeletal muscle.

The outcome for some children with this disease is extremely poor and treatment has remained largely unchanged for over 20 years.

Currently, treatments for patients with rhabdomyosarcomas are limited and often result in long-term side effects that seriously impact upon childhood development. Identification of new drug targets often comes about by looking for proteins that are found at higher levels in tumours than healthy tissues and the effects of ...
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