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The quest for answers – A cancer journey

When you hear the words ‘cancer journey’ you normally think of a cancer patient and their journey through diagnosis and treatment.  Here at Worldwide Cancer Research cancer journey means something else.  It is a quest to find the answers.

The story of our annual review this year is about some of our scientists’ personal research journeys.  Journeys that take the road less travelled.  They start out with big, brave ideas with the potential to find fresh answers, and unlock truly new insights.  In eight short video clips they describe their cancer journey and the pivotal role played by Worldwide Cancer Research.  To follow each of our scientists on their respective journeys, click on their names below or watch all of their short videos here.

Dr Sergio Quezada is researching how our immune system cells respond to skin cancer cells at UCL Cancer Institute, London

I became a scientist because I just enjoyed asking questions and getting answers.  Many times those answers would lead to even more questions.  I wanted to connect that inner desire of research with a final and an ultimate call which for me was to cure cancer.

We believe in our scientists, and we believe their ideas can get us to that bold new horizon sooner.

Dr Helen Dooley is creating new antibodies to overcome drug resistance in HER2-positive breast cancer at the University of Aberdeen

As a scientist just starting out on this scientific journey it’s really difficult to get funding.  And that’s why Worldwide Cancer Research is so important because they are willing to fund this early-stage, slightly riskier science that could have great potential in the future.

We know the early-stage research we fund - all over the world - takes time, commitment, ingenuity and risk.  And it takes investment.  So thank you to all our supporters who have invested not just their money but often their time running marathons, or climbing mountains – often in support of friends and family touched by cancer.  You are helping be the answer to cancer.

Dr Philip Zegerman, is looking at how cells control the copying of their DNA at the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge

Early-stage funding is really important for us to develop the tools, methods and ideas to turn long term cancer research into long term benefits to patients.

Dr Louis Vermeulen is trying to help healthy bowel cells win the fight over cancer cells, at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam

When you discover something in the laboratory and then years later you are actually able to use that knowledge in a clinical situation to help the patients that are right in front of you.  That is my clear ambition.

We’ve seen the progress research can make, and that’s why we believe the next 25 years are crucial.  We can already glimpse that new horizon - where cancer is just a word. All we need is your support to help us get there.

Dr Laura Soucek is developing “OMOMYC” as a new lung cancer drug at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona

I wouldn’t be in this job if I didn’t really believe that we have a chance to defeat cancer. I really want to believe that in 25 years or so cancer might be just a distant memory. We are not here to just stall things, we are here to find a solution.

All over the world there are scientists waiting for funding that will transport their research to the next level.  But without funding they can remain stuck, unable to progress, unable to reach the answers only research can unlock.  But we believe in them.  And we do everything we can to give them the funds to get moving.  To get them closer to the answers.  To help their ideas change the world.

Dr Allison Bardin is using fruit flies to understand how cancer begins at the Institut Curie, Paris

Progress would be slowed down if these projects that were a little bit out of the ordinary weren’t given funding.  It’s extremely important in science to fund very diverse types of research; things that may give new insights into critical questions.

Time and time again researchers tell us that we were the only ones willing to take the risk and fund their work and that our leap of faith was well placed.

Professor Stephen Hart was working on developing new treatments for neuroblastoma at UCL Institute of Child Health, London

Without the funding from Worldwide Cancer Research the progress that we have made in the last couple of years just would not have been possible.  We might not have even got the project started.

Our strapline ‘Whatever it takes, wherever it takes us’ encompasses our belief that the answer to cancer will not come from one lab or indeed one country.  We fund research in any country and in to any cancer type as we know it is our best hope to beat cancer.

Dr Salvador Aznar-Benitah is identifying and characterising the cells in tumours of the mouth and lip that allow the development of secondary tumours at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona

The amazing thing about Worldwide Cancer Research is I’m a researcher in Barcelona and they are based in Scotland and are funding me. I don’t think I know of any other organisation that would do that.

 If you would like to be the answer to cancer, text WORLDWIDE to 70004 to donate £10.

Science Communication Manager at Worldwide Cancer Research

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