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.

Investigating inherited genes that are linked to development of rhabdomyosarcoma

Isabelle Gore 11 October 2016
Dr Marc Tischkowitz, University of Cambridge Rhabdomyosarcoma is a cancer that is difficult to treat and remains a major cause of death from cancer in childhood, with little progress having been made in recent decades. Dr Marc Tischkowitz is investigating an inherited predisposition that underlies some cases of this cancer. The aim is to aid in the earlier diagnosis, therapy and potentially even cure for children at risk or at the initial stages of developing rhabdomyosarcoma by increasing understanding of their genetic profile.

Amount of grant: £225,510 | Date of award: July 2016 Overview Around 70 children are diagnosed with rhabdomyosa...
Read More

Investigating uncharted genomic sequences in childhood leukaemia

Isabelle Gore 10 October 2016
Professor Christine Harrison, Newcastle University

Sequencing the unsequenceable: investigating uncharted genomic sequences in childhood leukaemia: around 10 per cent of the human genome remains unexplored, with some of the uncharted regions believed to play a role in the development of childhood cancer. In this pilot project, Professor Harrison and Dr Sarra Ryan are developing revolutionary, state-of-the-art technologies to explore this region for the first time, to improve our understanding of how childhood cancer develops and how it may be prevented. Amount of grant: £55,022 | Date of award: July 2016 Background The human genome – our ...
Read More

Enabling molecular profiling in childhood cancer

Isabelle Gore 29 September 2016
Professor Louis Chesler, The Institute of Cancer Research

Detailed analysis of the genetic characteristics of a child’s tumour can give important additional information about the tumour and how best to treat it. This is called precision medicine. This project aims to put in place the necessary infrastructure to introduce the systematic testing of newly diagnosed and relapsed patients.

Amount of grant: £125,666 | Date of award: July 2016 Overview Around 1,600 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the UK; around 80 percent of these children can be cured using existing treatment approaches. However 250 children die from cancer eve...
Read More

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...
Read More

Exploring new targets for the treatment of ALT positive childhood cancers

Isabelle Gore 29 January 2016
Dr David Clynes, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford

David was awarded a Paul O’Gorman Research Fellowship in 2015 to support a programme of research that aims to uncover new ways of treating certain childhood cancers known as ALT positive cancers. These include some devastating forms of childhood brain tumours.

His work has the potential to uncover the Achilles heel of ALT cancers, allowing for the identification and/or rational design of new tailored drugs. Background – achieving immortality Cancer occurs through the uncontrolled growth and division of cells, which eventually leads to the development of a tu...
Read More

New MRI techniques to improve diagnosis and monitoring of childhood cancer

Isabelle Gore 29 January 2016
Dr Patrick Hales, UCL Institute of Child Health

Patrick was awarded a Paul O’Gorman Research Fellowship in 2015 to support a programme of research that aims to develop MRI techniques for the earlier identification of high-risk tumour sub-types.

The aim is to enable the early stratification of patients into different treatment groups, so that each patient receives the most appropriate level of treatment. Background – the need for early diagnosis of high-risk tumours A number of childhood cancers still carry a very poor prognosis – including the brain tumours high-grade glioma (HGG), diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and medulloblasto...
Read More

Immunotherapy for relapsed paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Isabelle Gore 22 September 2015
Professor Persis Amrolia, UCL Institute of Child Health, London

Stem cell transplant is used as a treatment of last resort in young patients with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) whose disease has failed to respond to or relapsed after chemotherapy. Only half of patients undergoing transplant are cured long-term, and disease relapse is the major cause of treatment failure. Professor Amrolia is pioneering the development of a new immunotherapy approach to treat relapsed ALL. If successful, this should not only improve survival but also reduce toxicity and improve quality of life for children with this disease.

Amount of grant: £300,000 | ...
Read More

Advanced MRI scanning for improved diagnosis in Wilms’ tumours

Isabelle Gore 15 September 2015
Professor Chris Clark, UCL Institute of Child Health

Wilms’ tumour is a childhood kidney cancer, mainly affecting the under fives. There are a number of subtypes of Wilms’, some of which carry a poor prognosis, but currently diagnosis can only be made following surgery, which follows four to six weeks of pre-operative chemotherapy. This project will pioneer the use of advanced MRI techniques to determine tumour subtype, enabling a more personalised approach to the management of each child’s disease.

Amount of grant: £88,559 | Date of award: May 2015 Overview Around 80 children are diagnosed with Wilms’ tumour, a cancer of the kidney, ever...
Read More

Identification of cancer stem cell markers in paediatric glioblastomas

Isabelle Gore 15 September 2015
Professor Martin Leach, The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Paediatric glioblastoma is a devastating brain tumour that few young patients survive. The poor outcome has been attributed in part to the presence of a population of cancer stem cells that are resistant to treatment. Professor Leach and colleagues will study the properties of these stem cells to aid the development of new treatment approaches.

Amount of grant: £235,854 | Date of award: May 2015 Overview Paediatric glioblastoma (pGBM) is an aggressive brain tumour that fewer than one in five young patients survive. Despite recent improvements in our knowledge of the biology...
Read More

Refining our knowledge about the genetic causes of leukaemia

Isabelle Gore 15 September 2015
Dr Elspeth Payne, UCL Cancer Institute

A large number of genetic mutations have been identified in childhood AML, with any one child having between 5 and 20 mutations. The role played by these mutations, alone and in combination, is not fully understood. This project will develop a model system that will facilitate the study of these mutations. Ultimately this will aid the development of more effective treatments.

Amount of grant: £52,500 | Date of award: May 2015 Overview Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is the second most common form of childhood leukaemia. It has a substantially worse outlook than the more common form, acute lymphoblastic...
Read More

Where your money goes

Hover over a segment for details