We’ve evolved from a small memorial charity to a major force in the fight against childhood cancer, and become Children with Cancer UK, the charity you know today. Our supporters have enabled us to fund major research programmes and trials, give children with cancer and their families a boost with VIP days out, and to open Paul’s House London, a ‘Home from Home’ for families from all over the South East of England with children being treated at UCLH.
UKALL 2011 began in April 2012. The previous trial, UKALL 2003, revolutionised the way that children with ALL are treated by enabling doctors to tailor treatment. The new trial aims to take survival rates even higher. MRD testing will be used to monitor the effectiveness of an important change to the chemotherapy regime for children with ALL. Doctors will use a drug called dexamethasone at a much earlier stage in treatment, with the aim of reducing the number of children who relapse on treatment.
Thanks to our supporters, we contributed £1.1 million towards the costs of Paul’s House – a home from home for families of children being treated at University College London Hospital.
More than 200 children and teenagers with cancer are treated at UCLH every year, some staying for months at a time. Only one third come from the London area, and the rest have to travel from all over the south east of England.
With 15 spacious family rooms just a few minutes’ walk from UCLH, Paul’s House offers the whole family a place to stay for as long as necessary. Not only is this an enormous help financially, saving families the cost of hotel accommodation, but it gives parents somewhere to retreat, away from the pressures of the hospital ward.
Paul’s House also helps children travelling to UCLH for day-care procedures, who can now stay with a parent at Paul’s House rather than being admitted to the ward.
Our most significant research grant in 2010 was awarded to Professor Tariq Enver at the UCL Cancer Institute. Professor Enver’s breakthrough research identified the cells where ALL first arises and those that may be responsible for disease relapse.
His ongoing work is exploring the differences between leukaemic stem cells and normal blood stem cells, and looking at whether they are eliminated by chemotherapy or whether they remain and may be responsible for disease relapse. His aim is to understand why some children relapse after chemotherapy, helping to design new treatments.
Scientists and researchers from around the world joined us our third international conference, our first as Children with Cancer UK.
Childhood Cancer 2012 addressed a broad range of early life exposures that have been associated with childhood cancer risk, including exposure to ionising and non-ionising radiation, pollutants in air, food and water, infectious agents and dietary factors.
And we awarded research grants to encourage talented young researchers to continue their research into the causes of childhood cancer.
In 2011 we hit the headlines thanks to marathon fundraising efforts from ex-stuntman Eddie Kidd and Mr Happy, aka Andy Jackson. Thanks to them and our many other supporters, we were able to give children with cancer and their families a well-deserved day out at Zippos circus, where they were given VIP treatment and met the performers at an after-show party. The event was such a success that we did it again in 2012.
Since 1988 we have evolved from a small memorial charity into a major force in paediatric oncology, becoming the first UK charity dedicated to fighting all forms of childhood cancer.
As Children with Cancer UK, we continue to focus on funding scientific research, particularly into the causes, prevention and treatment of childhood leukaemia and other childhood cancers. Our research funding has helped to drive childhood leukaemia survival rates as high as 90%.
Along with our name change to Children with Cancer UK, we announced funding of £1.5 million for research into the causes of childhood cancer, and, in a collaboration with Great Ormond Street Children’s Charity (GOSHCC), made a further £1 million available for essential research to develop improved treatments for a broad range of childhood cancers, including leukaemia, brain tumours, neuroblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma.