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Abbie’s Fund

Abbie’s Fund was set up in 2005 by Claire Attard and Lori Wormald, for Abbie Shaw who died of cancer the following year, aged 5. Claire and Lori are family friends of Mike, Liz, Jamie and Abbie Shaw. 

Abbie Shaw of Abbie's Appeal

Abbie was diagnosed with a rare cancer called adrenal neuroblastoma in 2002, at just 21 months old.

Neuroblastoma affects around 100 babies and young children each year in the UK. It develops from specialised nerve cells (neuroblasts) left behind from a baby's development in the womb. It is one of the most difficult childhood cancers to treat. Further research is needed to beat this disease, giving children in the future a better chance of survival.

Abbie’s Fund has raised over £300,000, which has helped fund our research into treatment for neuroblastoma.

Changing delivery of cancer care for children

A key line of the research is being undertaken by a team led by Professor Louis Chesler, who heads up the ICR’s Paediatric Solid Tumour Biology and Therapeutics Team. Professor Chesler is working to understand the biology of children’s cancers and use that information to discover and develop new personalised approaches to cancer treatment.

Abbie’s Fund’s support has been crucial in helping the team to develop a new blood test, which offers a quicker, cheaper and much less painful way to identify a child’s tumour than taking biopsies.

The aim of this research has been to improve delivery of cancer care for children, by starting to build robust knowledge of genetic changes that are common in children’s cancers - and which can be targeted using drugs already in clinical use.

Over time, with feedback from clinical trials and using expert databases, clinicians will be able to personalise treatments and minimise their long-term toxic side-effects.

Ground-breaking project

Abbie’s Fund have been delighted to be involved with the funding of such a ground-breaking project. They are pleased to see that blood-based testing will be incorporated into clinical trials this year.

Mike Shaw says: “Abbie’s Fund are very proud to contribute to the fantastic work being undertaken by Professor Louis Chesler and his team at The Institute of Cancer Research.

“We have been involved since 2005 and in that time unbelievable progress has been made in both the understanding and treatment of this horrendous cancer. The dream we had of making neuroblastoma survivable now looks as if it could genuinely become reality.

Learn more about Professor Chesler’s team.

If you would like to get involved and support our childhood cancer research, please contact Nicola Shaw in the Development Team, call 020 8722 4227 or email [email protected].

You can follow the ICR on Twitter for regular updates on our work.