We’re thrilled to announce our £1 million research project PDF Print E-mail

We’re incredibly pleased to announce that we’ve gifted the £1 million Tom Prince Cancer Trust fund to University College London!


The gift has been used to establish the first UK-wide Osteosarcoma research project with the aim of improving the survival of patients.


The Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project will push the boundaries of our understanding of this rare cancer, working to make discoveries that will change the lives of those diagnosed with the disease.


The project hopes to identify better ways of determining which patients with Osteosarcoma will benefit from new and existing treatments, and which patients respond to therapies by employing new ways of monitoring patients for relapse.


Led by Professor Adrienne Flanagan at UCL Cancer Institute and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project brings together some of the UK’s most skilled genomic medicine doctors and scientists already involved in Osteosarcoma research.


The group aims to understand how this disease develops and progresses and ultimately how to deliver personalised medicine for patients.


L-R: Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, and Adele and Clinton Prince, Founders and Trustees of the Tom Prince Cancer Trust


What will the project do?
The current treatment for Osteosarcoma involves intensive chemotherapy and surgery. In spite of extensive research into cancers, there has been little change in treatment for this rare cancer in nearly 30 years – so the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project will be dedicated entirely to researching Osteosarcoma causes and treatments.


The project will involve a comprehensive, large-scale genomic study of Osteosarcoma across the UK. Integration of the results from each patient will provide a molecular profile of the individual’s disease: when correlated with clinical outcomes, the research becomes incredibly powerful and provides opportunities for the development of more personalised treatments for patients.


Professor Adrienne Flanagan with Peter Campbell and others have already undertaken the largest genomic study of Osteosarcoma to date, as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. This study was recently published in Nature Communications and the research to be undertaken now will build on this knowledge and experience.


UCL is one of Europe’s largest and most productive centres of biomedical research, and home to the UCL Cancer Institute, which brings together over 300 scientists working together to develop world-class basic and translational cancer research.


UCL scientists have an international reputation for leading cancer research and the UCL Cancer Institute, where this research project will be based, is uniquely positioned to leverage the multidisciplinary nature of UCL by engaging a range of disciplines to transform cancer research.


Professor Adrienne Flanagan said: “We are honoured that The Tom Prince Cancer Trust have enabled us to establish an extensive research programme in the memory of Tom. Their gift is the largest donation to Osteosarcoma research in the UK. This project is truly ground-breaking and will bring together key partners across the UK with the primary goal of accelerating research into Osteosarcoma which will lead to an improvement in treatment and survival of patients with the disease.”


Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, said: “UCL is delighted to have such a close relationship with the Tom Prince Cancer Trust. The Prince family and everyone who has supported them have gone all out to hit their fundraising total over the past 13 years and reaching this £1 million milestone is incredibly meaningful for everyone. Their hard work will make a real, tangible difference to research into this disease, and ultimately have a far-reaching impact on the lives of many other families affected by Osteosarcoma.”


UCL’s Professor Flanagan brings together a world leading team with the right expertise from across the UK to work together on this disease. Researchers include scientists Professor Peter Campbell and Dr Sam Behjati at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Dr Peter Van Loo and his team at The Francis Crick Research Institute, and Dr Nischalan Pillay at UCL. Close engagement with the clinicians across the UK, led by Dr Sandra Strauss at the UCL Cancer Institute, who treat patients with Osteosarcoma, will make this a powerful study, and allow translation of the findings into clinical practice.


Our journey
We’re very pleased and excited to gift £1million to UCL, to further the understanding and treatment of Osteosarcoma. Reaching our target means so much to so many, therefore we took our time to consider carefully the options, ensuring the funds went to the best possible place. UCL has world-leading expertise with Professor Flanagan and her team, as well as excellent technology and systems.

Our journey has been both heart-breaking and heart-warming. The Trust has been a positive focus for the family and Tom’s friends, and helped us pull through in those early days. It drew us all together as we strove to turn our sadness into something positive – we wanted to keep Tom’s memory alive and to go some way to try and cure Osteosarcoma so other families don’t have to go through the same pain.


Tom’s kind heart was beyond his years and this 13-year journey is a true testament to the impact he had on all of us. We’d like to thank all our family and friends who stood by us in our darkest hour. We’re hugely proud of, and thankful to, the community where Tom lived and loved, for raising this money together - and we’re looking forward to the progress that the research can make.


The future
We’re so excited about this project and the steps it will take to further understanding and treatment of Osteosarcoma! We’ll keep you updated with the project’s progress.

You can donate to the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project on the UCL website.


And keep an eye out for our orange collection pots that will remain in shops and pubs around Portsmouth, rebranded for the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project.


More information

Click here to read the announcement on the UCL website.

Photo: L-R: Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, and Adele and Clinton Prince, Founders and Trustees of the Tom Prince Cancer Trust