Since starting out as a small memorial charity 29 years ago, Children with Cancer UK has pioneered over 200 cutting edge research projects into the treatment of childhood cancer.
In that time we have helped improve survival rates. Children and young people are more likely to survive cancer than ever before; survival rates increasing from 63.7% in 1990 to 82.4% in 2015. Sadly however over a similar period the number of cases diagnosed has also increased. 10 families every day receive the devastating news that their child has been diagnosed with cancer.
Whilst success against some childhood cancers has improved, prognosis for other childhood cancers remains poor. Even for those cancers where more children are surviving it is crucial that we continue to invest in pioneering kinder treatments that could reduce the burden of toxicity and improve survival rates in even the hardest to treat cancers.
Progress in molecular and cellular biotechnologies has heralded the advent of an era ofin which molecular genetics can be harnessed to deliver more effective, less toxic therapies. The Trustees are keen to make a major contribution to funding this technology in the UK.
We will also focus on theof childhood leukaemia, drug delivery in childhood brain tumours and the ongoing evolution of factors involved in causation of childhood cancer. Improving treatments and survivorship has to be the key focus of research moving forward.
Our progress would not have been possible without the generosity of supporters and for that we are enormously grateful. To date, with your help, we have raised over £210 million in our fight against childhood cancer - £125 million of that in the last ten years.
A great amount has been achieved, but there is still much to be done. Without our valued supporters, vitaland could not be funded.
I offer my heartfeltto everyone who has so kindly supported our work to help more children with cancer and their families. I look forward to all we can continue to achieve together in the future.
Eddie O'Gorman OBE
Founder and Chair
We are currently funding over 60 active research projects worth over £17 million at centres of excellence around the UK. In 2016 we made 25 new research awards totalling £4.3 million.
Treating neuroblastoma by recruiting immune cells via BiTEs may provide a completely new type of therapy and could contribute to a cure to those children who cannot be saved with conventional treatments.
Detection of genetic risk factors will help improve the prognosis of leukaemia patients through early detection and the development of new treatments.
2016 saw us host our fourth Childhood Cancer Conference. The three day event featured some of the world’s leading scientists working in childhood cancer sharing their knowledge and expertise on Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy.
We are committed to making Precision Medicine a reality for childhood cancer patients. Developing Precision Medicine in the UK should help reduce the long-term adverse impact of aggressive treatment and also give us a better understanding of the causes of cancer in children and young people.
This is the second year of our Clinical Studentship scheme. This type of funding helps build capacity in childhood cancer research and also entices talented doctors to pursue a career in paediatric oncology.
Katherine’s project aims to test whether repositioned drugs (drugs not originally approved for their anti-leukaemic properties) could provide targeted and less toxic treatment for high-risk patients. The benefit of this approach is that it is considerably quicker and cheaper than developing new therapies which have to undergo more extensive clinical trials.
Sarah aims to increase our understanding of the development of bilateral and other inherited neuroblastoma by looking at the genetic changes (mutations) that cause it and the order in which they occur. This project will be the first attempt at understanding the life history of neuroblastoma development.
Despite a concerted world-wide effort to develop new drugs progress has been hampered because laboratory models do not sufficiently mimic the human disease. Libby’s research aims to produce a laboratory model that closely replicates cancer as seen in actual patients.
2016 was the final year of our Brain Tumour Initiative.
Professor Battaglia will lead a multidisciplinary team and use nanotechnology to develop an extremely small molecular vesicle loaded with therapeutic drugs. These vesicles are able to access the brain and deliver targeted drugs to eradicate brain tumours. The team will initially test the effectiveness of their nano-carrier with clinically available drugs which will allow the potential impact of their work to be realised in a much shorter timeframe.
The chemotherapy drug (temozolomide) used to treat adult high grade gliomas are less effective in children as sufficient concentrations of the drug are unable to infiltrate the brain to target the cancerous cells. The aim of this project is to test the effectiveness of a more potent modification of temozolomide delivered directly into the tumour using a technique called convection enhanced delivery (CED).
In collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco, the researchers will use a novel immunotherapeutic approach to target diffuse midline gliomas. The aim of the project is to develop gene-modified T cells which target a protein found specifically on cancerous cells like DIPG. This approach is highly targeted and, if successful, will allow them to investigate the treatment in a clinical trial.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is a type of brain tumour which is currently incurable. This project aims to use bacteriophages to deliver therapeutic nucleic acids to DIPG cells in a preclinical setting. If successful, this phage guided anticancer therapy can rapidly enter clinical trials and could also be applicable to other brainstem gliomas.
We campaigned for further funding into brain tumour research; we asked our supporters to sign a petition calling for more funding into brain tumour research. The petition was debated in the House of Commons and the government announced a series of new priorities.
During the month we launched new, innovative online videos to showcase how important our life-saving research is - our ’Little Translators’ film featured children ’translating’ the science behind some of our research projects. To highlight what it is like for children and young people to go through the cancer journey, we put together a series of podcasts.
We were delighted to have been chosen by 'The Sun' to be one of four benefitting charities for their Christmas appeal, called 'Smiles at Christmas'.
We are launching a new mobile-friendly website to communicate our life-saving work. We are also going to optimise our social media channels to ensure we engage more with families and supporters.
In 2016 we were able to fund a number of exciting projects that helped make life more comfortable for children with cancer and their families.
We continue to work with our friends at CLIC Sargent to make a big difference to families affected by childhood cancer. In 2016 we supported CLIC Sargent through their ‘CLIC Sargent grants’. CLIC Sargent grants provide families with vital extra support whilst their child is undergoing cancer treatment. These grants allow families to worry about one less thing whilst their child is undergoing cancer treatment.
We were able to provide a grant to Brainstrust to help develop a new, innovative support service for children diagnosed with a brain tumour. Little Brainstrust is able to provide coaching-led support by phone (24/7) or email, helping families overcome challenges and find the best possible outcome for their child, and their family.
We are pleased to have given financial support to Bristol Children’s Hospital towards a new accommodation unit, so families can stay together and be very close to the hospital when their child is undergoing cancer treatment at the hospital. This accommodation will make a huge difference to many families who may be making regular long-distance trips to the hospital and for children who may be facing months of gruelling treatment and extended stays in the hospital.
We were able to give financial support to Together for Short Lives - one of the UK’s leading charities for children with life-shortening conditions. Together for Short Lives provides information and support to families of children with cancer, when a child needs palliative care.
Once again, we were pleased to be able to support Lifelites with a grant towards their work with young cancer patients. Lifelites provides specialist entertainment, educational and assistive technology packages to children and young people with rare, life-limiting and complex disabilities.
We plan to continue our welfare efforts, with a particular focus on providing support for accommodation for families near hospitals.
Zippos Circus welcomed nearly 50 families for the sixth year, Children and their families were treated as VIP guests in their very own Mini Big Top, before being taken to the Big Top for the circus extravaganza.
We saw 1,400 runners take on the gruelling 26.2 miles of the Virgin Money London Marathon and they raised over £2.8 million.
In 2016 we continued to invest in Linda’s Lottery, our weekly lottery programme. Linda’s Lottery has now raised nearly £500,000.
Through our partnership with St. Baldrick's we received £55,367 from a series of head-shave events.
In 2016 we celebrated 25 years of Opera at Syon raising over £116,000. We also celebrated over £1.2 million raised by the event over 25 years.
Over 400 cyclists cycled through the Surrey Hills and the streets of London and raised over £330,000.
The Spring into Summer Party, our annual party in Marbella and a fashion show in the UK together, raised over £45,000.
Our Children with Cancer Ball raised over £610,000 – more than ever before.
Over 1,000 people took part in a Rat Race Event in 2016 throughout the year raising over £250,000.
We aim to recruit new regular supporters, invest in new technologies like mobile giving, and develop existing activities like our long-standing Grand Draw raffles.
Since choosing us as their charity partner in 2012, One Aldwych has raised over £80,000 for our life-saving work. In 2016, Executive Chef, Dominic Teague, invited four of his Michelin star friends to put on a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience raising over £9,000.
In 2016 we were selected as one of BGC Partners chosen charities. Every year they hold their special day in memory of colleagues who perished in the disaster of 9/11. We were joined by two of our celebrity ambassadors, Chris Eubank and Chris Eubank Jnr. The day raised £40,000 for our vital work.
By the end of 2016 Coral had raised an incredible £2.2 million towards our life-saving work during their three year partnership with us.
Steve Humphries, Central Operations Director at Coral, on visiting one of our lab tours, said:
"I found the whole day a little like being on a rollercoaster – one minute feeling huge sadness for those impacted by childhood cancer, to the next minute being totally humbled by the commitment, dedication and passion shared by the team in fighting it."
In 2016, Brighton was the venue for the latest of the award winning Entrepreneurs’ Bootcamp series of events. Hosted by self-made millionaire, Andrew Reynolds, the three day Bootcamp was attended by almost 3,000 aspiring entrepreneurs and start-up business owners. 100% of the ticket sales was donated to Children with Cancer UK - £229,842 was raised!
A very special and heartfelt thank you to all the families who have kindly shared their experiences in 2016. Your involvement is essential in raising awareness and vital funds to help children with cancer.
Although we are only able to highlight a very small number of our supporters below, we offer our sincere and wholehearted thanks to everyone who so generously supported our work during 2016:
And finally, a special thank you to our dedicated team at Children with Cancer UK.
Ant and Dec •
Brian Blessed •
Brenda Blethyn •
Frank Bruno •
Sir Michael Caine •
Jasper Carrott • Dame Joan Collins • Phil Collins • Dame Judi Dench •
Kian Egan • Philippa Forrester • Sir Chris Hoy • Chris Jarvis • Sir David Jason •
Pui Fan Lee • Lennox Lewis • Gary Lineker • Joanna Lumley • Sandy Lyle •
Sir Paul McCartney • Sir Trevor McDonald • Stephen Mulhern • Des O’Connor •
Robert Powell • Pauline Quirke • Sir Steve Redgrave • Linda Robson •
Jonathan Ross • Phillip Schofield • Chris Tarrant • Rob Templeman •
David Tennant • Kevin Whately • Holly Willoughby • Paul Young