Childhood cancer: Support our search for the genes behind the disease
Last updated: 07/05/2013
Why this research is needed
Every day around four children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK. But the good news is Cancer Research UK’s work is helping more and more of them survive.
Today, almost three-quarters of children are cured, compared to around a quarter in the 1960s.
The impact of our work
Our researchers are tackling childhood cancer on all fronts, from investigating the causes of the disease and finding new ways to diagnose it, to developing better and kinder treatments.
This work includes that of Professor Nazneen Rahman and her team who are working to find which genes make children more likely to develop cancer.
Supporting this project
Amy Duncan donatedAmy Duncan aged 9- I want t... Amy Duncan aged 9- I want to help raise money for children with cancer. I held an afternoon with mum and granny's friends and ran lots of fundraiaing actvities. more
Project closed – May 2013
Fundraising and donations to this project have now closed because this research project is due to end shortly. Cancer Research UK has provided for the remaining costs through our general funds – but we still desperately need your help to fund our research into cancers that affect children and young people.
Please continue to support our work - we are raising money for another area of childhood cancer research:
What's the science behind this project?
Professor Nazneen Rahman at the Institute of Cancer Research is leading a team that are trying to find out which genes make children more likely to develop cancer.
They hope to find new and better ways to diagnose the disease and monitor children at risk. This research will also help scientists understand what goes wrong in cancer and may identify new targets for treatments.
Professor Rahman and her team have already had many successes. In the last year alone they have published six scientific articles relating to the mistakes in the genetic make-up in a number of childhood cancers, but there is still a long way to go.
Professor Rahman and her team are searching for more of the genes involved in childhood cancers by looking at the entire genetic make-up of children with cancer and comparing it to children who don't have the disease.
Shakespeare's spelling mistake
Finding the faulty genes is not easy - Professor Rahman herself says it can be "a little bit like searching for one spelling mistake in all the works of Shakespeare".
But the pioneering techniques used by Professor Rahman are making this easier than ever before. The team hope to find more faulty genes, investigate what they do in the body and learn how they cause cancer.
Professor Rahman hopes, in the future, this will allow doctors to offer better support to families who may pass these faulty genes down to their children and help to diagnose cancer earlier in children who are at risk.
Knowing which genes cause cancer may also help doctors work out which treatments will work best for children with the disease.
We are moving towards an era where cancer medicine is much more 'personalised' to individual patients, thereby increasing the chance of beating the disease. The ultimate aim of Professor Rahman and her team is to turn their findings into real benefits for children with cancer.
The difference you can make
Our work has been at the heart of transforming the chances of survival for children with cancer. Almost three-quarters of children with cancer now beat their disease, compared with around a quarter in the late 1960s.
With your support we can continue our groundbreaking work to try and help even more children survive. Research like Professor Rahman's is crucial in our continuing efforts to beat childhood cancer, by understanding the genes at the heart of the disease.
Do you know a Little Star?
Cancer Research UK has launched its Little Star Awards, to celebrate the courage of children who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Parents, friends and relatives from across the UK can nominate a child who is dear to them for special recognition which is awarded by Cancer Research UK in partnership with TK Maxx.