Ground-breaking funding to develop UK’s new programme for young cancer patients
Children with Cancer UK, the leading national charity dedicated to research into cancer in children and young people, is providing £1.5m funding to advance Precision Medicine in the UK, and make this field of treatment a reality for children and young adults diagnosed with cancer.
Not generally available on the NHS, the ambition is to get Precision Medicine off the ground in the UK so it can be adopted nationally, available for every young cancer patient who would otherwise face less effective, more toxic treatment. This includes:
- Improved treatments for high-risk cancers with extremely poor survival rates
- The reduction of the long-term adverse impact of aggressive treatments
- Better understanding of the causes of cancer in children and young people
- The integration of advanced genetic technologies directly into clinical practice
Precision Medicine is an emerging approach to disease treatment and prevention and takes into account individual variations in genes, environment and lifestyle. Precision therapies target specific changes in individual patients’ tumour DNA, allowing for more effective treatments while reducing toxic side effects. It has huge potential to improve cure rates and reduce the burden of toxicity on young cancer patients through better targeted chemotherapy, introducing advances in immunotherapy and using other evolving technologies.
While some clinicians and institutions are starting to systematically apply this treatment approach to young cancer patients in parts of the USA and Europe with some success, until now efforts in the UK have been somewhat ad hoc – largely due to lack of development funding in the NHS.
To help drive forward the implementation of Precision Medicine for young cancer patients in the UK, Children with Cancer UK is providing £1.5m to fund the initial phase of a programme for rapid DNA sequencing for every UK child diagnosed with a solid tumour.
The initiative will significantly help move the latest and best medical science into clinical practice. Over time, with feedback from clinical trials and using expert databases, clinicians will be able to personalise treatment plans to maximise potential for cure and minimise adverse long-term toxic side-effects from the treatments.