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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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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Identifying new treatments for children with rhabdomyosarcoma

Isabelle Gore 18 September 2014
Dr Zoë Walters, Institute of Cancer Research, London

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 depleting t...
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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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Metabolic analysis of the tumour suppressor protein p73 in medulloblastoma

Isabelle Gore 12 September 2014
Dr Maria Victoria Niklison-Chirou, Blizard Institute, Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma, Queen Mary University of London

Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumour in children. Current treatments include surgery and radio/chemotherapy which can cause significant side effects including neurological, intellectual and physical disabilities.  

The main purpose of this research project is to develop a new treatment for children with medulloblastoma, by studying the protein p73.

p73 plays a central role in the development of the central nervous system and in metabolism. Metabolic adaptation has emerged as a hallmark of cance...
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Childhood cancer immunotherapy using blood cells from umbilical cord blood

Isabelle Gore 26 June 2014
Professor Waseem Qasim, UCL Institute of Child Health

Immunotherapy is an important new approach in the treatment of cancer. Some immunotherapy approaches rely on the collection of patients’ own immune cells, which are genetically engineered before being returned to the patient to fight the cancer. Unfortunately, following chemotherapy, many children have very low numbers of the necessary immune cells, making this approach unfeasible. Dr Qasim is pioneering an approach using immune cells taken from donated umbilical cord blood as an alternative to using patients’ own cells.

Amount of grant: £255,156 | Date of award: June 2014
Overview I...
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Antibody development for safer stem cell transplant in acute myeloid leukaemia

Isabelle Gore 26 June 2014
Professor Persis Amrolia, UCL Institute of Child Health

Stem cell transplant is often used to treat patients with acute myeloid leukaemia but the intensive treatment used pre-transplant to destroy the patient’s bone marrow has serious side effects. Professor Amrolia is pioneering a new way of destroying the bone marrow, using specially designed antibodies to create space for the donor stem cells. If successful, this approach should make it possible to carry out transplants in a much safer way.

Amount of grant: £267,162 | Date of award: June 2014
Overview Stem cell transplant (SCT) is an important but high-risk procedure often used in the...
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