Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) will invest £70 million in paediatric research into rare and complex child health conditions, including childhood cancer, over five years as part of its new research strategy.
The charity, which is the UK’s largest dedicated funder of child health research, aims to transform the lives of seriously ill children through research-led care.
This latest commitment to research funding will see investment at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health and research institutions across the UK, with a new focus on involving patients and families in research projects and improving the everyday experience for children with rare or complex conditions.
At least £15 million of the new funding will be spent on research into childhood cancers, with cancer currently remaining the biggest killer for children aged between 1-14 in the UK.
The charity’s new research strategy will prioritise:
- Understanding the origins and biology of disease: The charity will expand its funding for pioneering discovery research. A better understanding of the origins of disease can enable researchers to uncover new opportunities to diagnose, treat and even prevent illness.
- Using research to advance towards tests, treatments and cures: The charity will continue to support the translation of scientific discoveries into clinical care and will launch new translational research and clinical trial funding schemes and patient-focused research funding schemes.
- Improving the everyday experience of children living with rare and complex diseases: The charity will involve patients and families in research activities, launch new and targeted funding schemes for projects that are likely to improve the everyday experience of living with a rare or complex disease, and use advocacy to address issues of most importance and benefit to children and families.
- Creating an environment where research can thrive: The charity will increase access to equipment and expertise needed to support a research environment, such as core facilities, digital technology, and research platforms. Bringing experts together to address important research questions, and expanding funding for research at the point of care will enable research outputs to quickly translate to improvements in clinical practice.
The new £70 million funding builds on the previous commitment from the charity to invest £50 million into child health research projects between 2016 and 2021, with key projects supported including the development of new gene editing technologies to treat childhood cancer, led by Professor Wasseem Qasim – the lead researcher behind the world’s first use of base-edited CAR T-cells to treat resistant leukaemia.
Louise Parkes, Chief Executive, of GOSH Charity, said:
“Paediatric research is vital to offering new, child-focused treatments to young patients and their families, alongside improving children’s everyday experiences so that they can enjoy their childhood without being restricted and defined by illness. That’s why we’re investing £70m over five years in this critically important area of work, as part of our commitment to accelerating child health research.
“We are all extremely inspired by the collaborative opportunities our partnership with GOSH, the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, and research institutions across the country offer us; partnership working provides an unrivalled opportunity to tackle some of the biggest challenges faced by children and their families with rare or complex diseases today.”
Dr Kiki Syrad, Director of Research and Innovation at GOSH, and former Director of Impact and Charitable Programmes at GOSH Charity, said:
“Thanks to research, we’ve seen major improvements in the lives of children being treated for rare or complex diseases – but there remains an urgent need to invest more into child health research. I am delighted that GOSH Charity is launching a research strategy that aligns with the needs of the hospital, and national and international research. Together, we can accelerate child health research. I look forward to seeing the difference this strategy will make over the coming years.”
Research offers hope, and the new five-year research strategy from GOSH Charity will spread hope far beyond GOSH patients, to children and families nationally and around the world living with a rare or complex disease.