Find Out How Your Money Is Helping Others

The Brain Tumour Charity:

In 2014 we were fortunate enough to find some world class brain tumour research to fund through The Brain Tumour Charity which is “the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity, committed to fighting brain tumours on all fronts”. This is what the Brain Tumour Charity had to say about this research:

Improving treatment options

‘High-risk’ paediatric brain tumours remain the leading cause of death from cancer in childhood. Whilst increased biological knowledge and technological advances have resulted in improved outcomes for other cancer types, the outcomes for these tumour types remains poor.

We are therefore pleased to be funding a pioneering £4 million programme bringing together three of the largest paediatric oncology centres in Europe with state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure in place and a world-class team at the forefront of research in this area to improve treatment for children diagnosed with these high-risk brain tumours, including DIPG.

A pioneering programme into DIPG

This programme brings together laboratory and clinical researchers to increase rate of progress from bench to bedside and translate biological findings into clinical practice for children diagnosed with DIPG.

The researchers will investigate the genetics and behaviours underpinning different sub-types of DIPG. They are seeking to identify biomarkers (biological traits, such as DNA, which are an indicators of disease) that may indicate the specific sub-type or disease severity. These biomarkers can then be used as ‘targets’ for the development of new treatments or to identify treatments that are more tailored and appropriate to each individual, based on the genetic makeup of their tumour.

The team will also develop new laboratory models to increase our understanding of the different sub types of DIPG. These models will then be used to test out potential new treatments targeting the specific mutations found in DIPG tumours.

Furthermore, one specific strategy will be to target the proteins, histones, which package up genes in cells and are faulty in nearly 60% of DIPG and other high grade gliomas and are known to drive tumour growth. The researchers will employ rapid drug screening techniques to identify new therapies that selectively kill cells containing the faulty histones. Promising drugs will then undergo further testing and if shown to be effective in the lab will be progressed to patient testing in clinical trials. Ultimately this will mean that children diagnosed with the most severe types of childhood brain tumour will have a better chance of survival.

A world-class team of experts

The programme brings together experts from Newcastle University, Institute of Cancer Research and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

The overall lead for the research programme is Professor Steve Clifford at Newcastle University. Professor Clifford has an extensive track record in research into brain tumours has already transformed research into medulloblastoma and led research from the laboratory to a European-wide clinical trial.

The DIPG programme of work is being led by Dr Chris Jones at the Institute of Cancer Research. Dr Jones has extensive experience in understanding the genetic basis of these tumours and what is driving tumour growth and then developing new drug targets against these pathways. In recognition of Dr Jones’ expertise in this field, he is Chair of the European Society of Paediatric Oncology’s group on DIPG and high-grade paediatric brain tumours.

Dr Darren Hargrave is a paediatric neuro-oncologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital and is the lead clinician on the DIPG programme of work. Dr Hargrave has extensive clinical experience and involvement in clinical trials in this field.

Track record of success – from lab to life

The research team at Newcastle, led by Professor Clifford, has transformed our understanding of medulloblastoma and paved the way for a European-wide clinical trial in which children’s treatment will be decided based on the biological make-up of the tumour.

They have discovered a biological marker which indicates the severity of the tumour and allows children with a low risk form of the tumour to be identified. Before this discovery, sufferers were all treated in the same way. It is now possible to tell which of the children are at a lower risk and have a much higher chance of survival. Those at low risk can be given less aggressive treatment, which could significantly diminish long term treatment side effects, including hearing loss, attention deficit and learning difficulties. Those at standard risk can be given more intensive therapy, which aims to increase their chance of survival. There is now a routine system in place so that all children with this type of tumour can be tested and their treatment tailored to their needs.

Your funding goes further

We are committed to funding further breakthroughs in this underfunded area of research. As a member of the AMRC, all of our grants are carefully selected following a rigorous, competitive process of independent and accredited peer review. This ensures that we are funding world-class research with the greatest chance of leading to further advances in this field.

Another benefit of this peer review system is that our funding goes further. For every £1 we spend, the institution is eligible for an extra 28p from the government through the Charity Research Support Fund. Furthermore, for this programme grant, applicants were only eligible to apply if they also obtained matched funding, therefore, further increasing the impact of this investment. Therefore, for every £1 you invest with us, approximately £2.28 of new funding will be directed into brain tumour research – more than doubling the impact of your investment. We have a track record of co-funding with charities of different sizes and welcome the opportunity to share with you this unique research.”

Find out more about the work of the Brain Tumour Charity here:

Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre:

We invested £90,000 towards the Katy Holmes Research Fellow which is a 3 year project into paediatric brain tumours at the Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre. This will be looking at relatively new medicines and how they switch on and off DNA in the brain stem. They will look at how best to get medicines to the brain stem across the brain blood barrier and how these medicines work specifically in blocking DNA changes and responding to them. Dr Lisethe Meijer is carrying out this research. Drug delivery and getting the right drugs to the brain stem where DIPG tumours evolve are the key areas of focus.

We invested £90,000 into this project. There are no further payments to make.

Here is the latest update from the CBTRC as of March 31st 2014:

“Lisethe is making good progress. She is in the process of writing a review and has set up a number of collaborations to support her work. In the laboratory she has started some work on brain tumour cells in culture to establish whether autophagy is an active process in brain tumours. Autophagy is a normal process by which unwanted cells are removed – she is investigating how these normal processes are changed in childhood brain tumours, in particular diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG).”

Please take a look at their website to learn more about them and their work: CBTRC

Here is a short video that explains more:

Research is VERY expensive and very much in need so we intend to keep fundraising because the more we raise the more we can fund so we need you to fundraise away too!

You are part of Team Katy now and together we WILL make a difference. Welcome on board!

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