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ISSUE 11 - 2018





For events and fundraising: events@

On behalf of everyone at Worldwide Cancer Research, I’m proud to introduce the new look spring edition of Making Progress – I hope you enjoy it!

For any other enquiries please contact: enquiries@

This issue looks at the wonderful progress we’re making thanks to you. And what an incredible few months it’s been! We awarded an amazing £4 million to 21 new pioneering research projects, and joined forces with two charities to co-fund much needed research into rare types of cancer. And this was all made possible by your generosity.

Call: 0300 777 7910 Visit:









YEAR OF THE WOMAN As a scientist by trade, I know all too well the challenges women face in pursuing a career in cancer research. That’s why I’m delighted to introduce four incredible women in this issue. Take a moment to read about Raysa Khan whose research your support is helping to fund, as well as Elinor, Kyla and Sandy’s stories, whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer.

In 2017, you helped us fund even more pioneering cancer research thanks to your donations. However large or small, every single pound and penny you gifted is bringing us closer to a world where no life is cut short by cancer.


Write to us at: WORLDWIDE CANCER RESEARCH Madras House St Andrews Fife KY16 9EH



We always like to hear from our supporters. Please contact us if you would like to share your thoughts or want to find out about other ways you can support Worldwide Cancer Research.



TURNING CANCER ON ITS HEAD Read on to find out how together we turned World Cancer Day upside down, raising awareness to help outsmart cancer sooner. One day, no life will be cut short by cancer. The more research you fund, the sooner that day will come. As always, thank you for your continued support – it means the world to us. Now what are you waiting for? Read on to find out how you’ve helped save lives!

Helen Rippon Dr Helen Rippon, Chief Executive WORLDWIDE CANCER RESEARCH is a charity registered in Scotland, No: 152991 Charity No: SCO22918







SEARCHING FOR THE ANSWERS THAT COULD HELP 100,000 PEOPLE PER YEAR Thanks to your support, we have been able to fund Professor John Spencer at the University of Sussex to drive a discovery program which aims to develop a new cancer drug. Professor Spencer’s new drug targets a common fault in a molecule that is found in cancer cells. If successful, this new drug could help treat up to 100,000 people diagnosed with cancer every year. The drug he is trying to develop works by re-activating a molecule found in cells nicknamed “the guardian of the genome”. In some cancer cells, this molecule has a gap in it which stops it from working. Professor Spencer’s drug aims to plug this gap, switching the molecule back on and killing cancer cells.




FINDING THE SWEET SPOT TO POWER UP THE IMMUNE SYSTEM Thanks to your generous donations, we have been able to fund Dr Diego Laderach at IQUIBICEN-CONICET in Argentina to develop an entirely new type of immunotherapy which unleashes the full force of the immune system against cancer.





Their treatment aims to use a sugar-like molecule to remove cells which are aiding cancer by suppressing the immune system, as well as directly targeting a molecular feature found on the outside of cancer cells. The hope is that this will lead to a two-pronged attack on cancer. The team’s work will focus on prostate cancer, but Dr Laderach says that the impact of their work “will significantly contribute to the design of novel therapeutic strategies which, in combination with current treatments, will be of paramount clinical benefit in patients with advanced prostate cancer and probably other types of cancer.”

You can find out more about the projects you helped to fund and make a donation at



CELEBRATING IN RESEARCH According to a recent survey, more than half of the population in the UK can’t name a famous woman in science.

Yet women in science around the world have and continue to make incredible discoveries, every day. From Marie Curie, the first double Nobel laureate, to Quarraisha Abdool Karim who has spent over 25 years researching how HIV/AIDS is spread in South Africa, Soyeon Yi, the first South Korean astronaut, and Marie Tharp, the first scientist to map the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

At Worldwide Cancer Research we pride ourselves on the inspiring, strong and passionate women who make up our family. And thanks to your support, we fund many female researchers who work tirelessly around the clock to search for the answers to cancer, in order to develop better ways to diagnose and stop the disease sooner.

To find out more about the incredible cancer research Raysa Khan is working on please visit...

“even in this day and age, women are highly under-represented in science”

We’re proud to say

51% of researchers funded by us are female

One such inspiring researcher is Raysa Khan, a Research Fellow in Medicinal Chemistry. She works with Professor John Spencer at the University of Sussex and knows all too well the difficulties which women can face when it comes to pursuing a career in science.

“Born in a Bangladeshi family, where I come from being a female scientist is certainly not common; most women tend to work in low-paid labourintensive factory jobs. When my family migrated to Sweden, I felt the instant difference and am grateful for all the opportunities that followed.” “However, somehow the thinly disguised misogyny prevails across the borders. Women pursuing higher professional occupations are far less common than men across

the globe. When it comes to our field and particularly in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine), one can’t help but notice that even in this day and age, women are highly under-represented.” Raysa is an inspirational figure for young women who wish to pursue a career in research, and we’re proud to fund her outstanding work with your support.



UPSIDE DOWN TOGETHER We sure did! On 4 February 2018, we launched our Lives Turned Upside Down campaign to raise awareness of the life-saving cancer research we fund here in the UK and across the world – and the role this vital research plays in developing more effective treatments for people affected by cancer.

We asked you, our fantastic supporters, to help us and you did just that in so many unique and inspiring ways, turning a small part of your world upside down to illustrate the impact of a cancer diagnosis. We would like to say a huge thank you for your support in making it a global success. Not only has the campaign significantly raised awareness of the projects we fund, it has also helped increase donations.

LET’S TURN FUNDRAISING ON ITS HEAD Cancer turns millions of live upside down every single day – not just on World Cancer Day. But you can help save so many lives, now and in the future, in your own wonderful and unique ways. Whether it’s an upside down bake sale or a fashion show, you can host your own unique upside down fundraising event. You’ll find ideas and inspiration at fundraising



“Being told I had cancer pulled the rug from under me. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world as my cancer was found early and I was able to access treatments and care that helped me beat it.” “There’s so much that can be done to treat cancer nowadays, thanks to the pioneering research that’s saving lives. Yes, cancer turns your world upside down, but there is hope.”

Alan, 46, was diagnosed with testicular cancer aged 28 and underwent surgery two years later, when further tests revealed a tumour at the base of his spine. He also lost his father to cancer the same year.


We were delighted to also have the fantastic support of Alan Stubbs, former Celtic FC defender and Hibernian FC manager who shared his best handstand pose to show his support!

We’re delighted so many people have united in support of our Lives Turned Upside Down campaign. Our vision is that no life should be cut short by cancer, and our many supporters who fund pioneering research are helping to turn things around for those facing a cancer diagnosis and their families.

He made a full recovery and was back playing football within months, but admits the experience changed his outlook on life. Investment in research and advances in treatments mean that now 98% of men diagnosed with testicular cancer can be cured.

If you would like to support research further, please donate online at





Alternatively you can call


0300 777 7910

On a mission to

‘PHIL THE GAP’ in cancer research

Anyone who has ever been on the London Underground will know the firm but kind voice behind the famous ‘Mind the Gap’ announcement. But have you ever wondered about the voice behind it? Well, it more than likely belongs to Phil Sayer, one of the leading voice-over artists of his generation, father to two boys and loving husband to Elinor Hamilton. In April 2016, Elinor’s life changed in a way she never would have imagined – Phil sadly passed away after a two-year fight against oesophageal cancer. Phil went through several rounds of chemo, an oesophagogastrectomy with days in the Intensive Care Unit and then palliative care. Despite his survival chances on diagnosis being lower than 16%, his positivity shone through and although the end came suddenly, he used his inimitable brand of Tumour Humour right up until he died. Only four months later, Elinor was given the devastating news that she had developed breast cancer. Naturally, her world collapsed. While grieving, she had to manage two surgeries, months of chemotherapy and long sessions of radiotherapy whilst keeping their business running and caring for her bereaved children.

A few months ago, Elinor finally received the all clear. “I feel fortunate that I’ve benefited from years of research – especially because our children now don’t need to face losing another parent.” To celebrate this, she has decided to run the London Marathon and raise funds for Worldwide Cancer Research. At her request, all the money she raises will go specifically towards oesophageal cancer research. London is also a special place for her to take on this gruelling challenge as Phil will be with her all the way, announcing the underground stations below the roads she will be running on.

“It saddens me deeply that research into Phil’s type of cancer is so far behind. Hopefully, between us, we can help to ‘Phil the Gap’ between the survival rates for oesophageal and breast cancers.” Elinor’s passion and determination in the face of adversity is incredibly humbling. Thank you Elinor, and thank you to all your family and friends helping you reach your target. We were amongst the thousands of supporters cheering Elinor on Sunday 22 April. And as she ran on the roads of London, Phil’s voice was with her, supporting her all the way.

COULD THE CURES BE IN THE JEANS? Running a successful business yourself is extremely tough. But when two passions come together – fashion and supporting the search for the cures to cancer – it becomes so much more than a job. Kyla O’Donnell knows this all too well. She is the Founder of Kevin Denim, a UK-based luxury jeans company which was set up in 2017 to provide high quality jeans which make people feel and look great, whilst donating 50% of the profits to Worldwide Cancer Research. The reason? Her beloved father, Kevin O’Donnell. In 1984, Kevin was diagnosed with a brain tumour. After fighting courageously for two years through several courses of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries, he sadly passed away aged just 36. Kyla was 13.

In a short space of time, Kevin Denim has gone from strength to strength, with the first pair of jeans heading for the US. As well as the incredible support they provide Worldwide Cancer Research, Kyla has also set up a Lasting Tribute in memory of Kevin – her own way to remember and celebrate Kevin by sharing his story. We can’t thank Kyla and all her customers enough for all they have done to support us.

“This is my way of helping”

Kyla knew she had to do something in memory of her father and the millions of people around the world whose lives are turned upside down by cancer every day. When, years later, she got her own cancer scare and the results thankfully turned out clear, she was inspired to create Kevin Denim as a tribute to her father. “I remember him buying my first pair of jeans when I was 10. It meant a lot. 30 years on from Dad passing, this is my way of helping to support cancer research. If my father had survived he would have gone on to raise money for cancer research, and because he never got the chance to do that I am doing this on his behalf.”

You can support Elinor’s fundraising efforts at:

To support Kyla’s mission to do great, look great visit



“I can’t put into words how grateful I am to Steve Jackson. To have the chance to say thank you to the man who has given me my life back means the world.”

After a seven-year battle with cancer, Sandy Tansley, a grandmother from Bedfordshire, has finally come face to face with the researcher who saved her life. And it’s all thanks to you. When Sandy was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer, she endured countless cycles of chemotherapy with no success. With four tumours spreading to her stomach and “nothing to lose”, she was offered the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial for a new targeted treatment drug, olaparib, which arose from the work of British scientist Professor Steve Jackson. Two years later, the tumours had disappeared. Today, five years after being given the all clear, Sandy remains in complete remission. And with

the help of Worldwide Cancer Research, she has finally met with Professor Jackson. “Being cancer-free is a result previously unimagined, after what I’d been through. It’s a dream come true to be able to watch my grandchildren grow up when I thought I wouldn’t be around – I feel like the luckiest person in the world.” “I can’t put into words how grateful I am to Steve Jackson. To have the chance to say thank you to the man who has given me my life back means the world.” Olaparib, under the brand name Lynparza, was developed following two decades of groundbreaking research by Professor Jackson. In his ‘eureka’ moment, with funding from Worldwide Cancer

If you would like to share your inspiring stories, we would love to hear from you, please get in touch.

Research he discovered key proteins that cells use to repair damage to DNA; a major breakthrough he believed could be useful for developing new cancer drugs. Professor Jackson set up his own company to develop these drugs – one of which was olaparib. A decade later, clinical trials of olaparib began across the world, and the drug has since been granted approval in the UK, the EU and the USA as a targeted therapy for ovarian cancer.

blue sky research has allowed us to produce something that could ultimately help millions of people around the world.”

Professor Jackson explains:

“As a research scientist, I don’t come into contact with patients. To be able to meet someone whose life was actually saved by this research is very special, and makes everything worthwhile.”

“Without funding, this drug simply would not have been developed. The faith that Worldwide Cancer Research put in me to fund what was, essentially,

Research won’t happen without funding. Worldwide Cancer Research relies on your dedication and support. Without it, the pioneering projects we fund would simply not happen.


Research into rare cancers is far behind in comparison to other types of cancer, meaning outcomes for patients with rare cancers are often much worse. That is why this year we have taken a new approach to tackling cancers which are in desperate need of research. We have formed partnerships with The Brain Tumour Charity and Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund to co-fund three projects into these deadly cancers.

“Research and alternative options are essential. There has been no progress towards a cure for DIPG for more than 50 years. This has to change. No child should suffer like those diagnosed with DIPG.” Jennifer Stewart, mother of 8-year old DIPG patient Luke

A total of £119,000 has been awarded to Dr Lee Wong at Monash University in Australia to search for weaknesses in brain tumours, so that new treatments can be developed. Dr Wong and her team have worked out that a tiny alteration to chromosome structure can be used to identify tumour cells from normal cells. They now want to investigate exactly how these changes drive tumour growth in glioma, a type of brain tumour.


outsmart COLLABORATING AGAINST ONE OF THE DEADLIEST CANCERS We have teamed up with Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund to support Dr Angus Cameron at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London. Together we have committed £235,000 to fund a research project

which aims to work out how to shut down the growth of tumours in pancreatic cancer. Dr Cameron and his team want to find out how normal cells in pancreatic tumours are recruited by cancer cells to support the growth and progression of the disease. This will not only give a better understanding of the biology of pancreatic cancer, but could also identify new ways to treat one of the deadliest cancers.

Dr Angus Cameron said:

“Tumours are not just masses of cancer cells, they also contain lots of normal cells which have been recruited by the tumour to help it grow. One of these cells plays a critical role in the progression of cancer. We want to understand more about how these cells interact with tumour cells in pancreatic cancer.”

UNITING AGAINST BRAIN CANCER Through our partnership with The Brain Tumour Charity, your support is funding two outstanding scientists’ work on brain cancer. Both charities have committed an equal share of nearly £340,000 to fund researchers in Ireland and Australia.

A further £218,000 has been awarded to Professor Adrian Bracken at Trinity College Dublin to study a rare but highly aggressive childhood brain cancer, DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). Professor Bracken is interested in why some patients are resistant to a specific type of treatment and is studying the molecular features of these tumours to work out how to overcome resistance.

If you would like to support research further, please donate online at

Alternatively you can call


0300 777 7910



We asked you to tell us why research means the world to you, and you said:

“More people will live and love longer! God bless you all. x” “After mum passed away with cancer, 30 years later with research, my sister survived cancer. Big thank you and hugs.” “I have lost my brother, husband and mother-inlaw. Because of cancer research my daughter and I have both survived breast cancer. Thank you all researchers.” Thank you so much for all the lovely messages of support. If you would like to tell us why research means the world to you, call us on 0300 777 7910 or email enquiries@

j y a d g i b c YOUR


coming soon

The big day when no life is cut short by cancer Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your celebration could in turn help us all celebrate the day we outsmart cancer? Whether it’s a birthday, a wedding or an anniversary, there are many ways you can support life-saving cancer research on your big day.

To register your interest and find out about how you can make Worldwide Cancer Research part of your celebration, CALL US ON 0300 777 7910 or email


Making Progress Issue 11  

Making Progress Issue 11

Making Progress Issue 11  

Making Progress Issue 11