Action Against Cancer's important role
Breakthroughs in the laboratory can potentially have implications for millions of people, well beyond our lifetimes. Many of the well-known cancer charities will fund only 'safe' research, or research that deliberately would not take risks. This begs the question 'how much is the envelope really being pushed?' Finding something new, and looking at cancer in a new way, is hard - but we can do it. Action Against Cancer is enabling me and my team to do that, and to think differently, allowing calculated risks to be taken. Perhaps the biggest risk is not to take risks.
Action Against Cancer is run incredibly efficiently and is refreshingly low on bureaucracy. Developing cures is not easy, and we don't yet understand why some cancers are curable and others are not. To work this out will require taking calculated risks and an ability to adapt and move quickly.
We are currently working on huge projects with applicability to a wide range of cancer types. With the incredible support of Action Against Cancer's Patrons, other generous donors and awe-inspiring fundraisers, we are doing big science with a big aim to develop cures. Developing cures is realistic.
At the start of my career we cured around 40% of patients, ten years ago it was 50%, and now it's a majority. If we can cure colon cancer with liver secondaries (a condition which is particularly difficult to treat), which we can sometimes now do, we can get there for most cancers, we really can. We must accept that sometimes we will conduct experiments that simply 'won't come off'; but sometimes they will. And when they do, we can really beat this disease. Patients need better solutions, fast. That's what we're here for.
Professor Justin Stebbing
The average percentage of successful grants per scientist is approximately 10-20%, and with research funding becoming more competitive in the coming years, it is anticipated that this number will decrease even more. Practically, this means that great scientists with exciting, innovative and occasionally bold ideas will not have the opportunity to materialize their projects. Projects that could potentially save lives.
Luckily, Action Against Cancer gives chances and hopes to individuals that are taking ‘risks’ and think outside the box, in order ultimately to make a difference. I am extremely lucky and honored to be supported by Action Against Cancer from its creation, and to be funded during the last decade for various projects that are running in my laboratory.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and discuss my research with exceptional and inspiring people, including Hilary Craft, the charity’s Founder, and with other Trustees, Patrons, and numerous individuals that have made generous donations and fundraising efforts, and BELIEVED in our work and vision.
Most importantly, Action Against Cancer allows the scientists they fund to focus on their research and make the best of their work. This kind of approachable and open-minded mentality separates Action Against Cancer from other funding bodies and charities.
Professor Georgios Giamas