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.

Early detection of Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency cancer syndrome

Isabelle Gore 18 October 2016
Dr Ian Carr, University of Leeds

Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency is a rare inherited cancer syndrome. Most of those affected die in childhood. Early diagnosis is important but challenging. This project should result in the development of a new diagnostic test to aid early diagnosis and thus enable earlier clinical intervention.

Amount of grant: £31,587 | Date of award: July 2016 Background Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency (CMMRD) is a rare inherited cancer syndrome. CMMRD is caused by inheriting defective genes that are important in the repair of damaged DNA. There are four genes that are known to cause CMMRD if defect...
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Can a simple blood test speed up diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma?

Isabelle Gore 18 October 2016
Professor Ruth Jarrett, University of Glasgow

Hodgkin lymphoma is one of the most common cancers to occur in children and young adults. Although the cure rate is high, symptoms are often attributed to other diseases such as glandular fever, delaying diagnosis and resulting in unnecessary illness and anxiety, and possibly more intensive treatment than would otherwise be necessary. This project will explore the value of a new blood test in facilitating early diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Amount of grant: £149,968 | Date of award: July 2016 Overview Lymphoma is a form of blood cancer. It affects the same cells that become cancerous in leuka...
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Developing new treatments for high-risk neuroblastoma

Isabelle Gore 11 October 2016
Dr Helen Bryant, University of Sheffield

Neuroblastoma has a ‘high-risk’ form that has a poor prognosis despite intensive treatment. Some high-risk neuroblastomas have extra copies of the MYCN gene and Dr Helen Bryant wants to clarify the role of this gene. She will be testing the effects of a new drug used against ovarian cancer, as well as other similar drugs, on MYCN neuroblastoma. This will give a better understanding of this devastating tumour and potentially some new treatments in the short- to medium- term.

Amount of grant: £49,300 | Date of award: July 2016 Overview Neuroblastoma is a type of children’s cancer that arises in speci...
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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...
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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 ...
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Understanding treatment-resistance and disease-spread in childhood gliomas

Isabelle Gore 10 October 2016
Professor Chris Jones, The Institute of Cancer Research

Paediatric glioblastoma and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma are two of the most terrible forms of brain tumour to affect children, both incurable using existing treatments. The aim of this project is to advance understanding of how these tumours resist treatment and spread through the brain. This ultimately leads to the possibility of identifying new drugs that will improve the outcome for young patients with these tumours.

Amount of grant: £258,458 | Date of award: July 2016 Overview Paediatric glioblastoma (pGBM) and diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) are devastating brain tu...
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Development of ‘seek and destroy’ system against neuroblastoma

Isabelle Gore 10 October 2016
Dr Karin Straathof, UCL Institute of Child Health, London

Less than half of children with an aggressive form of the childhood cancer neuroblastoma can be cured, even with the most intensive treatment. Dr Karin Straathof is developing a new immunotherapy approach to target this disease. Not only should this provide a new treatment option for children who can’t currently be cured but, importantly, it should be less toxic than existing treatments.

Amount of grant: £251,392 | Date of award: July 2016 Background Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer that often returns, despite intensive combination treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and s...
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Understanding drug-resistance mechanisms in high-risk neuroblastoma

Isabelle Gore 10 October 2016
Dr Suzanne Turner, University of Cambridge

Resistance to treatment has always been a major barrier to curing cancer. This project focuses on treatment resistance in a particular form of high-risk neuroblastoma and aims to proactively identify effective counter-strategies against resistant tumours with the aim of extending relapse-free survival periods.

Amount of grant: £223,310 | Date of award: July 2016 Overview Neuroblastoma is the second most common solid tumour to occur in children, affecting around 100 children a year in the UK. A cancer of the nerve cells, usually developing in the abdomen, it accounts for more than 10 per cent of d...
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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...
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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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