Research Update- October 2022

The Summer months have been incredibly busy ones for the Research team at Solving Kids' Cancer UK, with the launch of the charity’s new five-year strategy, and exciting developments in our project portfolio. In August, we announced the launch of the Optimizing Immunotherapy for Refractory Neuroblastoma study, which was funded as part of our 2019 grant call. This important work, led by Dr Robbie Majzner at Stanford School of Medicine and Prof John Anderson at UCLH will involve preclinical investigations of a new combination therapy of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Children that are newly diagnosed with neuroblastoma that is resistant to standard therapies (primary refractory) currently face many challenges during treatment, and have a much poorer prognosis. This study is hoping to find a more effective treatment option for these children, which relies on boosting the patient’s own immune system against cancer cells, rather than using specific cancer-killing drugs. We are incredibly excited to see this project develop and look forward to sharing more news soon. You can read more about the study here. 

This year, a huge focus for the team has been on launching our next international Grant Award Call, to maintain the momentum of our growing portfolio of neuroblastoma research. We are delighted that this call, known as the ACTION Consortium RFA 2022, is now live! Research into childhood cancer research is a challenging task, where collaboration is essential. We have always strived to take a collaborative approach to our research, which this year has led to the formation of the ACTION Consortium. Made up of five like-minded non-profit organisations, the consortium is dedicated to Advancing Clinical Trial Implementation and Optimisation in Neuroblastoma. We are thrilled to be working with Anticancer Fund, Kindred Foundation, The Evan Foundation and Zoé4Life on this ambitious grant call that stands at $2 million, making it one of the largest to be dedicated to neuroblastoma research. You can read more about the call and its founders here.

At the end of September, members of the team were lucky to attend the 2022 SIOP Conference held in Barcelona. This meeting of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology is one of the largest scientific conferences in the childhood cancer field, bringing together researchers, clinicians, healthcare professionals, patient organisations and more. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these in-person events were put on hold, making the reunion in Barcelona extraordinarily special. For our team it was a wonderful opportunity to come together with the academic, medical and charity professionals that we work closely with, and for some to meet them in-person for the first time. The conference included an abundance of talks on the latest research in childhood cancer, as well as psychosocial topics including wellbeing during treatment, post-treatment care and support for the family network. We had a truly inspiring experience, coming away with many lessons learnt and much to reflect on. What struck above all else was the enormity of the mission to beat childhood cancer, with over 3000 in attendance. Whilst we know there is so much still to be done, it was amazing to see just how many dedicated individuals who are determined to do it.

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