Statement of Intent for Children’s and Young People’s Cancer Research

Cancer in children and young people is different to cancer in adults – from the types of cancer to the specific challenges facing the research community. Our statement of intent outlines how we intend to support researchers to overcome these challenges and drive progress in children’s and young people’s cancer research.
 

Why we’re prioritising children’s and young people’s cancer research

Despite improvements in overall survival over the last 40 years, cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease in children and young people (aged 1-24) in the UK. Some of these types of cancer continue to have low survival rates and many children and young people who survive do so with serious long-term side effects. We’re investing in this field to better understand the underpinnings of this disparate group of diseases and develop more effective and less toxic treatments to increase chances of survival and improve quality of life after treatment.

Challenges with research into children’s and young people’s cancers

  • Too few researchers
  • Too little discovery research
  • Not enough industry support
  • Poor awareness
  • Fragmented expertise
  • Lack of research tools

Our refreshed research strategy for children’s and young people’s cancers

We’ve developed a new strategy to support children’s and young people’s cancer research and tackle the challenges preventing progress. We’ve been consulting UK and international researchers in the field, as well as patients and parents who have been affected by these types of cancer. Following these consultations, we’ve set out a strategy that aims to:

Build research capacity in the UK

  • We have launched a new, national funding call to create momentum for the field, to support current researchers in answering questions in children’s and young people's cancers and attract researchers from other research areas
  • We have launched a second, parallel, international funding call to drive multidisciplinary, transatlantic collaboration and knowledge sharing
     
  • We will engage and collaborate with research communities not usually associated with children's and young people's cancers, encouraging them to apply their wide knowledge and expertise to this area of cancer research.

Develop and support a coordinated research community

  • We will convene a Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People's Network to provide a platform to discuss ideas and set a strategic direction for research in this area
  • We will host community building workshops to support conversations and collaboration between lab scientists and clinicians, and between scientists from different research fields

Ensure the research community has the tools and infrastructure it needs to progress

  • We will build and link together resources through our Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Network
  • We will fund the development of vital research tools through our new funding award schemes