TYAC launches first research strategy to increase funding of teenage and young adult cancer research

In TYAC's ambitious strategy for 2020 - 2025, one of our aims was to lead and fund world-class research dedicated to teenage and young adult cancers. Following a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, today we're proud to launch our first research strategy to help fulfil that goal.

We recognise the need for a well-defined research agenda that bridges the gap between the children’s and adult oncology research worlds. TYAC is taking the lead on building a new focus on research that is dedicated to the very specific needs of teenage and young adult cancer treatment and care which will help change the future of teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer care and improve outcomes for young people with cancer.

There are currently no major national funders who solely fund TYA cancer research, and no Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) members with a unique TYA focus. Proposals are either submitted to predominantly children’s or adult research funders.

The James Lind Alliance TYA Cancer Priority Setting Partnership (TYA PSP) employed a rigorous process to identify the top ten research priorities for teenagers and young adults with cancer, their carers and the healthcare professionals treating them. The top ten priorities were published in January 2018. The TYA PSP also identified that many of the top ten priorities are outside the scope of existing remits for research funders. A fresh focus is needed to help bridge the gap between children’s and adult cancer research to address the priorities identified for TYA research. New collaborations and partnerships across different disciplines such as education, as well as clinical and health roles, can stimulate novel ways of working in research. 

We are in a unique position in the arena of TYA cancer charities, as we are also the multidisciplinary professional body for those involved in the treatment and care of young people with cancer. As part of the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group, we also have considerable expertise in the funding of research projects and are a member of the Association of Medical Research Charities.

Jamie Cargill, TYAC Chair and Deputy Head of Nursing at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, said: "TYAC’s always been proud of our commitment to delivering first-class education, and developing best practice guidelines for service development. We’ll continue to build and enhance these, but we have ambitions to broaden our output as detailed in our 2020-2025 strategy.

"This will include a focus on world-class research dedicated to TYA cancer."

Ashley Ball-Gamble, Chief Executive of CCLG and TYAC, said: "We aim to fund world-class research across the TYA cancer timeline including prevention, diagnosis, treatment and consequences, including short- and long-term effects.

"We’re in a unique position in the arena of TYA cancer organisations, as we’re also the multidisciplinary professional body for those involved in the treatment and care of young people with cancer. Our medical and scientific expertise, alongside the considerable experience of CCLG in funding and supporting research, puts us in a strong position to make real change for young people with cancer.

"Teenagers and young adults with cancer are not always given the chance to take part in research studies, even though we have many questions about their diagnosis and experience. By building our research strategy on the priorities identified through the TYA PSP, we're ensuring that young cancer patients' voices are heard, focusing on the areas of research that matter the most to them."

TYAC's new research strategy also introduces the TYAC Research Academy. This new initiative aims to  expand our TYAC research community, encouraging professionals and researchers to develop expertise in TYA cancer research. We'll do this in a number of ways, including by nurturing the careers of early-stage professionals and researchers to become TYA experts, encouraging collaborations and partnerships, and providing training on relevant topics. 

To support our ambitions, TYAC has launched a Research Advisory Group, which will be chaired by Dr Lorna Fern, TYAC Executive member and Senior Research fellow based in the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit at University College London Hospitals (UCLH). Lorna said: "Launching TYAC's first research strategy is an exciting step forward in recognising TYA cancer research as a specialism. I am excited to be to establishing our Research Advisory Group which will lead on implementing our strategy, through both reviewing applications for funding to TYAC, and supporting the wider TYA cancer research community."

Ashley added: "We're ambitious about what we want to achieve for young people with cancer. We know the important research questions, and we have a plan - but research takes money. That's why, alongside the launch of our research strategy, we're also launching our new fundraising campaign, #FundTheAnswers. We hope that, by encouraging our supporters to raise funds specifically for dedicated teenage and young adult cancer research, we'll be able to improve treatment, care and support for all young people facing a cancer diagnosis."

Read our Research Strategy

Help us #FundTheAnswers