Press Release / by Jennifer Kelly
Tue, 06/06/2017 - 11:15

We are delighted to confirm the award two research grants to studies investigating rare solid tumours of childhood (malignant rhaboid tumours) in partnership with the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group

Malignant rhabdoid tumours (MRT) are aggressive, frequently lethal tumours of early childhood and infancy, and the cancer type that Grace had. Current treatments using surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are often ineffective and frequently cause harmful long-term effects in the children that survive.

The Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust has been working in partnership with the Chidren's Cancer and Leukaemia Group to fund research in into rare solid tumours of childhood including malignant rhabdoid tumours.  Grace's legacy has contributed £70,000 in total towards this research, which in combination with additional funding from the Hollie Taylor Fund at the CCLG, we were able to fund two projects.

Hollie is also one of the children in our Rhabdoid families support group who sadly recently passed away as a result of her tumour. We are thinking of her family very much at this at this time and thank them for all their fundraising to make this possible.

A little more about the projects

Professor Maureen O'Sullivan at Trinity College Dublin was awarded £49,600.00 to undertake a study called "Unravelling the impact of SMARCB1 loss on the chromatin landscape in malignant rhabdoid tumor to identify novel therapeutic opportunities". 

MRT is caused by a single change in the DNA, and this study will take a new approach to help us understand how this change affects the DNA, and what goes wrong in the cell that leads to MRT developing. The project hopes to idenfity vulnerabilities in the tumour that could be exploited for the development of new drugs.

Dr Daniel Williamson at Newcastle University was awarded £49,506.00 for his study entitled "Improved therapeutic targeting in malignant rhabdoid tumours using discovery proteomics analysis".

This project aims to characterise the biology of MRT in very precise detail. A state of the art technique will measure thousands of small changes in the amount of proteins in specially adapted MRT cells, and by analysising this data the team hopes to infer which drugs may be most effective in these tumours, as well as identify new targets for novel immunotherapies, treatments which use the patient's own immune system to fight the cancer.