For over 30 years, we have been funding lifesaving childhood cancer research and supporting children with cancer and their families. We have raised over £290 million to date, which has funded over 300 research projects and many other vital services for young cancer patients. We’ve helped improve childhood cancer survival rates from 67.3% in 1990 to a predicted 85.5% in 2018.*
We won’t stop until every child survives.
Every year, we invest millions into specialist research projects that are investigating a broad range of childhood cancers, helping us to better understand these diseases and to find more effective, less toxic ways of treating them.
We fund projects that we believe will have the most impact in the field and the results speak for themselves.
The discoveries made through our research are being used by the NHS and healthcare providers around the globe, helping thousands of children with cancer.
*Office of National Statistics (ONS) Childhood cancer survival in England: children diagnosed from 1990 to 2014 and followed up to 2015 and Cancer survival in England: adult, stage at diagnosis and childhood – patients followed up to 2018
In the early 2000s, we co-funded elements of a major, ground-breaking clinical trial that has greatly improved outcomes for children with leukaemia. The breakthrough itself was the development of an innovative new test called the Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) test, which measures how much leukaemia remains after treatment and how likely it is that a child will relapse. By understanding these two crucial factors, doctors now have a better understanding of how well a child is responding to different treatments and can tailor them accordingly, saving children from unnecessarily intensive treatment. The MRD test is now used in the NHS as part of standard care for patients. We are currently funding a second clinical trial, building on the success of the first, to save even more young lives.
Medical advancements mean that we are now able to map out the genetic code of any individual and any cancer, which offers great opportunity for the design of new targeted treatments for children with cancer. In 2017 we invested £3.7m into the development of a new Precision Medicine programme, which involves the detailed genetic profiling of children with cancer and their tumours in order to personalise their treatment plans. This exciting new approach is having a profound impact on results. Treatments are becoming more effective and achieving cures. Doctors are now able to use the latest cancer drugs in a way that is less toxic and results in far fewer longer-term side effects.
This quote by Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States regarding precision medicine approaches inspired our Chief Executive Officer, Cliff O’Gorman, on the road to the benefits of supporting our Precision Medicine research programme.
On 30 January 2015, Barack Obama said:
Doctors have always recognized that every patient is unique, and doctors have always tried to tailor their treatments as best they can to individuals. You can match a blood transfusion to a blood type — that was an important discovery. What if matching a cancer cure to our genetic code was just as easy, just as standard? What if figuring out the right dose of medicine was as simple as taking our temperature?
We recognise that infrastructure for research is just as important as outcomes. That’s why, since our founding, we’ve provided funding for five research centres in England and Scotland, including the UCL Cancer Institute in London.
We also host and fund a range of scientific conferences and meetings every year, bringing world leading experts together to promote shared learning and collaboration.
We understand the devastation children and families face when they receive a cancer diagnosis and we want to offer them support when they need it most. Because of your support, we’ve accomplished some incredible things in the last three decades. Watch our new video to find out more.
Our funding has helped ease the burdens of a diagnosis on families who are faced with unaffordable travel and accommodation costs from trips to specialist hospitals that are far from home.
We’ve been funding Young Lives Vs Cancer’s Financial Hardship Grant programme for over a decade, which provides financial assistance to families struggling with the mounting costs associated with their child’s treatment.
We’ve also invested £8.3m into 10 family accommodation buildings near to children’s hospitals across the country so that families can stay close to their child during treatment. These are free to stay in and complete with all amenities and home comforts.
Keeping families together is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we’ve always organised fun days out and parties for families affected by childhood cancer to enjoy some quality time together and momentarily forget about the worries of their diagnosis. We have an ever-growing range of special events for families, including annual trips to the seaside and circus. We’ve so far hosted an incredible 75,000 people at our events for families.
To celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2018, we commissioned the publication of a report based on independent research undertaken by The King’s Fund. This report assesses our impact to date on children’s cancers and looks at how advances in cancer research and treatments have changed people’s lives. Impact report news story.
Thank you for your support in 2020. Please download and read the below report to learn about our achievements in 2020 and the impact we’ve had on children with cancer and their families.