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Pioneering new childhood cancer research projects announced by The Little Princess Trust

A child and parent holding hands

Press release issued: 27 September 2023

The Little Princess Trust has announced funding of three groundbreaking childhood cancer research projects including a new University of Bristol-led study that will investigate how protein production is changed in childhood cancer cells.

Karim Malik, Professor of Molecular Oncology at Bristol, will study a new way that cancer cells can alter the production of proteins in order to help them grow unchecked.

While researchers know that cancer cells can have more of the messenger molecules that read the genetic code, which contains instructions for proteins which control cell behaviour. Professor Malik proposes that they also have changes to how these instructions are translated into proteins.

His project will focus on understanding how the translation of the genetic code into proteins is altered by molecules called tRNAs. These are a vital part of the translation process, bringing together the components needed to build each protein. Inhibition of cancer cell tRNAs may provide new cancer treatments in the future. 

Professor Mailk from Bristol's School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, said: "I am delighted that The Little Princess Trust selected our New Ideas project. The scheme fills a vital gap for research scientists in that it enables experimental validation of cutting-edge ideas and technologies.

"Our project will use the best modern technology to characterise tRNA modifications, which would not be possible without this grant. Our experiments will further define key attributes of cancer cells, and the data generated will be crucial for larger translational research projects in the future. We hope it will lead to novel therapeutic approaches in the near future."

Funding for the projects, which is through the charity's 'New Ideas' scheme and administered by expert cancer charity Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG), allows researchers to test new ideas and gather data that will support their idea through a more traditional grant scheme in the future.

The other projects are led by University College Cork researchers who will investigate whether a medicine could protect children's hearts if given before chemotherapy, and a University of Birmingham-led study on nanomedicines, which aims to make treatment safer for children with cancer using tiny particles to deliver anti-cancer medicines.

Funding of these new projects has taken The Little Princess Trust's total investment in children’s cancer research to over £22.5 million.

Phil Brace, CEO of The Little Princess Trust, said: "Reaching this fantastic milestone has only been possible through our supporters’ commitment to making a better future for children with cancer.

"Their fundraising has enabled us to launch our New Ideas grant scheme this year, dedicated to exploring the early stages of ground-breaking research ideas that are often hard to find funding for.

"We are excited to share that we have funded three New Ideas projects researching important topics that have not been explored before in childhood cancer."

Ashley Ball-Gamble, Chief Executive of CCLG, who spoke about his charity's work with The Little Princess Trust, added: "Our position as the experts in childhood cancer makes us ideally placed to support and administer The Little Princess Trust’s extensive research funding portfolio. The partnership is key to both our long-term aims and allows more high-quality research to be funded.  

"These projects are a vital step forward for childhood cancer and will help shape a brighter future for children with cancer, where every child has a safe and effective treatment and goes on to lead a long and happy life."

Further information

About The Little Princess Trust
The Little Princess Trust is one of the largest charity funders of childhood cancer research in the UK.

The Little Princess Trust has so far given more than £21 million to 115 projects focused on finding kinder and more effective treatments for all childhood cancers.

The Little Princess Trust works closely with Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) in an exciting collaboration that sees CCLG administer The Little Princess Trust’s research funding programme.

As well as funding childhood cancer research, The Little Princess Trust also provides real hair wigs, free of charge, to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.

More information can be found at

About Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG)
Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) is a leading national charity and expert voice for all childhood cancers. 

Each week in the UK and Ireland, more than 30 children are diagnosed with cancer. Our network of dedicated professional members work together in treatment, care and research to help shape a future where all children with cancer survive and live happy, healthy and independent lives. 

We fund and support innovative, world-class research and collaborate, both nationally and internationally, to drive forward improvements in childhood cancer. Our biggest partnership is with The Little Princess Trust, with whom we have an ongoing, thriving collaboration which benefits the research community and, ultimately, children with cancer. 

Our award-winning information resources help lessen the anxiety, stress and loneliness commonly felt by families, giving support throughout the cancer journey. 

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