Solving Kids’ Cancer brings a particular ethos to the way that we approach our research related activities. The simple model for funding academic research is a passive process; a pot of money is made available, researchers come up with ideas and submit proposals, grants are awarded, funds are paid out, and the research work is undertaken.
Our approach is based on, and built around, the following key elements:
- A presence in both the UK and USA. thus providing a unique international footprint that can be leveraged to foster transatlantic collaboration, bringing together both non-profit organisations and leading researchers from different continents and timezones. Although we are distinct charities and separate legal entities, our unique relationship with Solving Kids’ Cancer in New York provides a platform enabling us to extend our reach and expand our research activities; working towards providing access to the most promising clinical trials and treatments directly in the UK.
- An ability to build relationships with other charity partners, enabling us to do far more together through collaborative research funding than we could separately. This is absolutely essential to us delivering on our Research Strategy. The extent of our ambition is limited only by the means we have at our disposal to fund the vital work we know is so desperately required to improve outcomes for children with neuroblastoma.
- An innate understanding of what it is to be the parent of a child with the most deadly form of neuroblastoma. To observe what children must be subjected to in search of a cure for their disease. To fully appreciate the complexity of trying to treat neuroblastoma successfully. To know refractory patients, relapsed patients, patients who are ‘cured’ of their disease only for it to return years hence, patients whose disease is eradicated but at the cost of profound and lifelong health problems caused by the toxic treatments they received.
- A detailed knowledge and understanding of the global research landscape; the status of ongoing initiatives, results of recent studies, future plans of major cooperative groups and leading institutions. We try to make it our business to know who the experts are in specific areas like new drug development, immunotherapy, personalised medicine, molecular radiotherapy, and what they’re currently working on. We identify who the key decision makers are, and who collaborates with whom. We seek out overlap, possible synergies, and potential for mutual benefit in researchers working more closely together. This process of continuous learning and knowledge acquisition requires both dedication and a particular mindset; it comes from attending scientific meetings and conferences, from reading and discussing published research, and from meeting and developing relationships with the experts themselves. At its core it stems from a genuine intellectual interest in the science of neuroblastoma research.
- A drive, and determination to improve the lives of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma through careful and strategic investment in clinical research. With the ultimate dual aim of curing more children of their disease and reducing the adverse side-effects of treatment.
When combined together all of these elements enable us, along with our charity partners, to make the biggest difference to the lives of children with neuroblastoma. Our approach is one of activism; seeking to challenge as well as support the research community, to deliver more and better treatments for children with neuroblastoma whilst always ensuring that the best interests of children and their families are balanced alongside the need for scientific rigour. All of the activities we engage in; funding clinical trials, sponsoring meetings and bringing researchers together, investing in infrastructure type projects, or engaging in research advocacy are all important as we work towards fulfilling our mission.