Little Princess Trust News
Innovation Grants focused on improving outcomes for children with cancer
LPT funds three ground-breaking research projects aimed at finding inspired new treatments
The Little Princess Trust (LPT) has proudly agreed to fund three pioneering childhood cancer research projects.
The trio of inspiring studies are all recipients of the charity’s Innovation Grants, which seek to fund ground-breaking research projects to bring new and inspired treatments to children with cancer.
The three selected projects are led by Dr Madhumita Dandapani, Max Pachl and Dr Antonios Pouliopoulos.
Dr Dandanpani and Mr Pachl are both working on types of dye that will make surgery on tumours better and safer while Dr Pouliopoulos is creating a new way of getting medicines into the brain.
A huge step forward for childhood cancer care and treatment
Two of the research projects will specifically look at ways to improve treatment for children and young people with brain tumours – which is an area where survival rates are significantly lower than for other cancers.
Wendy Tarplee-Morris, who co-founded The Little Princess Trust in memory of her daughter Hannah, is excited to see the changes these projects will bring to children with cancer.
She said: “We are thrilled to have been able to award three successful applications in this year’s Innovation Grant round.
“Each of the projects offer exciting potential for children and young people with cancer to improve their outcomes.
“We were able to fund multiple projects due to the incredible support we have received from our fundraisers, which allows us to fund this important work.”
The Little Princess Trust works with Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) who use their expertise to ensure that LPT’s Innovation Grants go to the best research and researchers.
Ashley Gamble, Chief Executive at CCLG, said: “The ground-breaking ideas seen in these Innovation Grant projects will be a huge step forward for childhood cancer care and treatment, and ultimately help improve outcomes for children with cancer.”
The three chosen projects
The GLOSurgery project: £656,327
In a clinical trial, Mr Max Pachl will be testing whether the use of a special dye called idocyanine green can make children’s cancer surgeries safer and easier for patients with solid tumours. This is the first clinical trial in the world to compare the use of the dye to surgery without dye.
Indocyanine green can be injected before surgery and collects within the tumour, where it glows green under near infra-red light. This means the surgeon can see exactly where the tumour is, making it easier to remove.
Mr Max Pachl said: “It is amazing to have been given the opportunity to do something which will advance children’s cancer surgery in the UK and beyond.
“This grant will lead to changes in the management of children’s cancer surgery around the world with the aim of making that surgery easier, better and safer.”
The glowing tumour trial: £542,667
Dr Madhumita Dandapani will also be investigating the use of a dye, but for brain tumour surgery.
She said: “Adults having brain tumour surgery for glioblastoma are given the ‘pink drink’ dye three hours before surgery.
“The dye makes tumour cells glow pink under a special light, whilst the normal brain does not glow, which helps surgeons remove the whole tumour.”
Her team at Nottingham University will run a clinical trial to see whether the ‘pink drink’ dye works as well in children as it does in adults. They will look at factors such as whether only the tumour cells glow, as well as seeing whether more tumour is removed in surgeries using the dye.
Dr Dandapani also thanked all of the fundraisers: “We would like to thank everyone who has supported this project.
“Your support will help us innovate for children and improve outcomes for children with brain tumours.”
Delivering medicines safely: £850,658
Also studying brain tumours, Dr Antonios Pouliopoulos is developing a new treatment that uses ultrasound waves to deliver medicines to where they are needed. He is working on a particularly difficult to treat brain tumour, called diffuse midline glioma.
Dr Pouliopoulos will be packing special molecules, called liposomes, with medication. The liposomes will be guided by ultrasound waves, which will cause them to release their medicines when they reach the tumour. This will help get the medicines to where they are needed whilst reducing the amount of chemotherapy in the rest of a child’s body.
He explained: “We believe that this method can revolutionise the way we treat paediatric brain tumours.
“The only way to treat childhood cancer is to develop new techniques and innovative methods that improve the patients’ quality of life and extend their lifetime.”