Highlights from our first Children’s and Young People’s Cancer Research Conference

Cancer Research UK held its first Children’s and Young People’s Cancer Research Conference at the Royal Society in London on 14th November 2023.  

Scientists and researchers from across the UK shared updates about their work to improve how we understand and treat children’s cancers. The in-person event also encouraged awareness and promoted connections across the UK’s children’s and young people’s cancer research community. 

Professor Pam Kearns, Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Birmingham presented on how new ways of running clinical trials can help us test potential drugs for children and young people’s cancers as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible. She also summed up why events like this are so important. 

“The way we’ve been working, for the last decade really, is waiting for the crumbs from the adult drug development table. We’re getting better, but what we actually need now is we need the drugs developed for children’s cancer specifically,” said Kearns.  

“We need to take what we now know about the biology of children’s cancer and work with the organisations in the room (and particularly Cancer Research UK) and say how can we develop drugs for those targets that only happen in children.”  

Kearns and other speakers emphasised what can be gained by bringing all those working in children and young people’s cancer together, including other charities and funders, such as Children with Cancer UK, Blood Cancer UK and the Teenage Cancer Trust. In a roundtable session, researchers, students and funders also discussed possible solutions to the challenges around children and young people’s cancer research.  

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