UCL Campaign


Tom Prince Cancer Trust Donate £1million to Osteosarcoma Research

15 February 2018

The Tom Prince Cancer Trust has generously gifted £1 million to UCL to set up a UK wide research network for osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer primarily affecting teenagers and young adults.

The Trust was set up by the Prince family in memory of their son Tom who sadly passed away in 2004 from osteosarcoma on the eve of his 16th birthday. Since then, family and friends have fundraised tirelessly with the goal of raising £1 million for research into the rare disease and in July 2016, just over a decade since the Trust was founded, the family hit their target.

Tom Prince Cancer Trust Family Photo

Based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, the Trust has been very well supported by the community, growing into a popular local charity, linked to the heart of the city and its residents. Over the years ripples of support from family and friends have grown, from small scale fundraising events such as garden fetes and bike rides to the annual city-wide Blue Day celebration where thousands of people take part.

UCL is delighted to be the recipients of this hugely personal gift which has enabled the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project to be established. The current treatment for osteosarcoma is chemotherapy followed by surgery and in spite of extensive research into cancers, there has not been a new treatment in almost 30 years.

Professor Adrienne Flanagan, Head of the Department of Pathology at the UCL Cancer Institute, will lead a team to push the boundaries of our understanding of this rare cancer and to ultimately make discoveries that will change the lives of those diagnosed with the disease in the future. The project will involve a comprehensive, large-scale genomic study of osteosarcoma across the UK. Integration of the results from each patient will provide a molecular profile of the individual’s disease. When combined with correlation with clinical outcomes, the research becomes incredibly powerful and provides opportunities for the development of more personalised treatments for patients with osteosarcoma. Professor Adrienne Flanagan with Peter Campbell and others, have already undertaken the largest genomic study on the disease to date as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. This was recently published in Nature Communications and the research to be undertaken now will build on this knowledge and experience.

Professor Adrienne Flanagan said, “We are honoured that The Tom Prince Cancer Trust have enabled us to establish an extensive research programme in the memory of Tom. Their gift is the largest donation to osteosarcoma research in the UK. This project is truly ground-breaking and will bring together key partners across the UK with the primary goal of accelerating research into osteosarcoma which will lead to an improvement in treatment and survival of patients with the disease.”

Clinton and Adele Prince, Founders and Trustees of The Tom Prince Cancer Trust say:

“We’re very pleased and excited to gift £1 million to UCL, to further the understanding and treatment of osteosarcoma. Reaching our target means so much to so many, therefore we took our time to carefully consider the options, ensuring the funds went to the best possible place. UCL has world-leading expertise with Professor Flanagan and her team, as well as excellent technology and systems.

Our journey has been both heart-breaking and heart-warming. The Trust has been a positive focus for the family and Tom’s friends, and helped us pull through in those early days. It drew us all together as we strove to turn our sadness into something positive – we wanted to keep Tom’s memory alive and to go some way to try and cure osteosarcoma so other families don’t have to go through the same pain.

Tom’s kind heart was beyond his years and this 13-year journey is a true testament to the impact he had on all of us. We’d like to thank all our family and friends who stood by us in our darkest hour. We’re hugely proud of, and thankful to, the community where Tom lived and loved for raising this money together and we’re looking forward to the progress that the research can make.”

Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, said “UCL is delighted to have such a close relationship with the Tom Prince Cancer Trust. The Prince family and everyone who has supported them have gone all out to hit their fundraising total over the past 13 years and reaching this £1 million milestone is incredibly meaningful for everyone. Their hard work will make a real, tangible difference to research into this disease, and ultimately have a far-reaching impact on the lives of many other families affected by osteosarcoma.”

Tom Prince Foundation at Circle of Benefactors Event

UCL is one of Europe’s largest and most productive centres of biomedical research, and home to the UCL Cancer Institute which brings together over 300 scientists working together to develop world-class basic and translational cancer research. UCL scientists have an international reputation for leading cancer research and the UCL Cancer Institute, where the research project will be based, is uniquely positioned to leverage the multidisciplinary nature of UCL be engaging a range of disciplines to transform cancer research.

In September 2016, UCL launched is most ambitious philanthropic fundraising campaign to date to enable the university to realise some of its biggest ambitions. Aligned with the priorities of UCL 2034, the Campaign will focus on long-term fundraising and community engagement focused on four main themes – health, students, disruptive thinking and London. Partnering with The Tom Prince Cancer Trust to further the understanding of osteosarcoma is a brilliant example of how, with philanthropic support, the research undertaken at UCL has the potential to transform the lives of cancer patients now and in the future.

To find out more information about the Trust, visit www.tomprince.co.uk. To donate to the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project click here https://aoc.ucl.ac.uk/alumni/donations-gbp-single?id=253b55ae-4328-4864-a6b6-2686c20b3689