Research strategy


The incidence of childhood cancer increased through the second half of the twentieth century and continues to increase today.

Incredible progress has been made in treating childhood cancers but the pace of progress has now slowed and a substantial minority of patients are failed by therapy and do not survive.

In addition, the tremendous gains in survival have been achieved through the use of increasingly intensive treatment regimens, putting young patients at risk of adverse, treatment-related effects.

Research aims

  • We want to understand more about why children develop cancer, to find explanations for the increase in risk and to establish whether prevention is a possibility.

  • We want to drive forward the development of novel approaches to diagnosis, identification of markers of likely outcome and improved treatments for childhood cancer in order to tackle those forms which still elude successful treatment and to minimise the risk of adverse, treatment-related effects.

  • We want to understand more about the long-term risks faced by childhood cancer survivors, of whom there are now more than 30,000 in the UK.

Specific research objectives

These research aims can be broken down into the following objectives:

  1. To improve knowledge of the genetic and environmental causes and relevant biological mechanisms of childhood cancers.
  2. To identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for childhood cancers.
  3. To optimise and develop more effective and less toxic treatments for children with cancer, with a special focus on those forms of cancer that still carry a poor prognosis.
  4. To understand the long-term health implications of childhood cancer and its treatment.
  5. To promote the dissemination of research findings to achieve maximum impact.

Funding streams

We will address these objectives via the following funding streams:

  1. Project grants. We will provide project funding for research addressing
    objectives 1 to 4 above.
  2. Postdoctoral research fellowships. We will provide support for outstanding postdoctoral researchers to develop their careers in childhood cancer research.
  3. Support for conferences and meetings. To facilitate dissemination of research findings and encourage collaboration we will provide funding to support key sessions at relevant conferences and to fund specialist meetings or workshops.
  4. Travel awards. We will provide funding to enable ‘early career’ scientists to travel to conferences and meetings or to collaborate with research groups elsewhere.


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