Cancer cells under a microscope

Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) has collaborated with VIVO biobank to support early career researchers with four new childhood cancer research projects. The VIVO biobank stores the majority of children’s and young people’s cancer samples in the UK and is funded by Cancer Research UK and Blood Cancer UK.

Dr Minnatallah Al-Yozbaki, from the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, is one of the first researchers funded through this new scheme, which bypasses the need for researchers to collect cancer samples, allowing them to dedicate more time and funding to carrying out meaningful research.

Dr Al-Yozbaki’s project is titled ‘Understanding the role of CaMK1D protein on the development of diffuse large B cell lymphoma in children and will investigate whether a high level of CaMK1D affects how cancer cells communicate with other cells in lymphoma tissues.

“Our ultimate aim is to establish a link between CaMK1D and the progression of children’s B cell lymphoma. If we can show that CaMK1D is important for the development of lymphoma cells, targeting CaMK1D with new medicines may offer a kinder and more effective treatment”

Early career research funding is pivotal. It enables researchers to explore new ideas, methodologies, and technologies that can lead to breakthroughs with far-reaching impacts. Discovering that my project was funded brought a profound feeling of excitement and gratitude. I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in childhood lymphoma.

Dr Minnatallah Al-Yozbaki, from the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences

Ashley Ball-Gamble, Chief Executive of CCLG, said:

“Our collaboration with the VIVO biobank offers an exciting opportunity for early-career researchers to take the lead in childhood cancer research.

“Their work will lay the foundation for future studies on childhood cancer causes and treatment, while also providing vital support to keep talented researchers in this field.

“By partnering with the VIVO biobank, we have ensured that researchers have access to the necessary cancer samples before they begin their work, and that funding is allocated to the most impactful research.”

Professor Deborah Tweddle, Director of the VIVO biobank at Newcastle University said:

“Enabling life-saving research into childhood cancer is at the core of everything we do, which is why we are proud to collaborate with CCLG and our funders, Cancer Research UK and Blood Cancer UK, in establishing a pilot grant scheme that helps early career researchers access samples of cancers from children and young people.”

Professor Alexandra Smith, Deputy Director of VIVO biobank at University of York added:

“We are committed to granting access of samples to anyone seeking to conduct clinically relevant research, which is why we are so excited to work with more early career researchers, like Dr Al-Yozbaki, who are the future of cancer research but often face challenges in securing funding for their work. The scheme will greatly expand the scope of access of samples from the biobank and shape the trajectory of research into childhood cancer.”

“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with CCLG in the future to fund more of these pilot schemes involving VIVO biobank samples.”