Research

Christopher’s Smile funds innovative paediatric oncology research in the UK.  Our charity has provided catalyst funding to enable research which otherwise may not have received funding or would have been delayed while funding could be secured.  The majority of our funding is spent on research positions.  We have also provided funding for key laboratory equipment.

Our aim is to make the biggest difference with the funds we have available.  Our research strategy drives our funding decisions.  To date Christopher’s Smile has funded the following research positions:

As a direct result of Christopher’s Smile funding of paediatric research at the Institute of Cancer Research their clinical partner the Royal Marsden Children’s Unit at Sutton UK was able to increase the number of clinical trials of targeted agents from 5 in 2010 to over 20 in 2013 and ‘first in child’ studies have increased from 2 in 2010 to 10 in 2013.

Christopher’s Smile funding has enabled the development of Next Generation DNA Sequencing testing to enable the biological properties of children’s tumours to be identified at diagnosis and in the event of any relapse.  This test will be rolled out throughout the 20 paediatric oncology clinical centres in the UK.

As a small charity we are immensely proud of our contribution to the development of new tests and the individualised treatments that will follow for children with solid tumours.

2 Year Scientific Officer at the Institute of Cancer Research

January 2010 to December 2011
Our first funded position was for a Scientific Officer in the newly set up Paediatric Drug Development Team at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton Surrey.  This main objective of this position was to put in place all the processes and tumour models for the team to test and evaluate single novel  agents in a pre-clinical setting.

The end of grant report can be downloaded here:

 

3 Year Post Doctorate Researcher at the Institute of Cancer Research

May 2011 to April 2014
This position was instigated and funded by Christopher’s Smile to test combinations of agents in a pre-clinical setting.  The drugs that were initially tested targeted the MYCN signalling pathways, a molecular pathway that is often altered in medulloblastoma (brain tumour), neuroblastoma (cancer of the developing nervous system) and rhabdomyosarcoma (muscle tumour) and contributed to poor prognosis.  Later work concentrated on drugs targeting  ALK which resulted in a paper published in the journal ‘Cancer Cell’.

The end of grant report can be downloaded here:

3 Year Molecular Pathologist at the Institute of Cancer Research

January 2013 to December 2016
This position was instigated and funded by Christopher’s Smile to provide a paediatric focus within the newly opened Centre for Molecular Pathology  – a joint initiative between the Institute of Cancer Research and its clinical partner the Royal Marsden Hospital.  The position was granted to the Institute of Cancer Research after a peer review process.  The quote from the Institute of Cancer Research at the commencement of the position was “This role, the first of its kind in Europe, will support the classification of childhood tumour types for children entering clinical trials at our partner hospital, The Royal Marsden. This is a tremendous step forward as no-one else is currently running molecular diagnostics for childhood solid tumours in the UK and will improve the treatment regime offered to children whose cancers have relapsed.”

Awaiting end of grant report

2 Year Clinical Fellow at the Institute of Cancer Research plus a grant for a further year

May 2014 to May 2017
This position was instigated and funded by Christopher’s Smile to investigate new predictive and pharmacokinetic biomarkers for a range of childhood cancer types and also to investigate specific gene mutations in Neuroblastoma (cancer of the developing nervous system).  The position was granted to the Institute of Cancer Research after a peer review process.

4 Year PhD in Molecular Pathology

Jan 2016 to Jan 2020
This position is a progression of the 3 year molecular pathology project funded between 2013 and 2016.  The work will concentrate on the development of identifying the biological characteristics of circulating tumour DNA in blood and Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). This work is of particular interest to the paediatric brain tumour research community as it offers potentially non invasive techniques to identify brain tumour biology.

coz kids get cancer too