Members of the ICR’s Discovery Club and parents leading children’s cancer charities gathered in the inspiring surroundings of The Royal Society to hear about the ICR’s pioneering children’s cancer research.
ICR scientists gave a series of passionate talks stressing the impact that cancer continues to have on children and their families, while providing donors with a glimpse of a future where many more children will be cured through kinder, more targeted treatments.
Audience members were inspired by talks explaining how our science is allowing us to pick out those children who will need the most rigorous treatment while sparing others the side-effects of chemotherapy, and how we’re designing new personalised treatments.
Our speakers also highlighted the work the ICR has been doing alongside parent-led charities to campaign for greater access for children to clinical trials of new treatment.
Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR, opened the evening by expressing thanks to donors for making a valuable contribution to our paediatric research. He highlighted the leaps forward we have made already, but also the urgent need to accelerate development of exciting new treatments for children with cancer, in part by persuading the European Commission to ensure companies evaluate new drugs in children.
Professor Janet Shipley used her talk to highlight the stark fact that although children’s sarcomas are rare compared with many adult cancers, each death results in an average of 67 years of life lost.
Professor Shipley, who specialises in soft-tissue sarcomas such as rhabdomyosarcoma, is researching new molecular targets for treatment, and novel agents and combinations for clinical testing to improve outcomes for children and teenagers – some of whom have very limited treatment options available to them.
Dr Louis Chesler, a team leader in paediatric cancer research, gave an impassioned talk on how he believes targeted therapies have the potential to cure children with cancer, but cautioned that there were still barriers to accessing some of the drugs that could potentially improve outcomes.
A lively Q&A followed, chaired by Professor Workman, followed by an opportunity for members of the audience to talk with ICR clinicians, scientists and students over drinks and canapés.
Lara Jukes, Director of Development, said: “This event was particularly special and moving. Parents who have tragically lost their child to cancer are huge advocates of our work and recognise first hand why children and teenagers so desperately need targeted treatments to improve outcomes. Their support provides the cornerstone which enables us to undertake research into these cancers of unmet need.”
To join The Discovery Club
or to find out more, please contact Louise Dean at the ICR Development Office on 020 8722 4371, or by email: [email protected]