UCL Campaign


The Tom Prince Cancer Trust: the largest donation to Osteosarcoma research

“We’re thrilled to be included as part of UCL’s Donor Wall & that our donation has set up the first UK-wide Osteosarcoma research project which aims to improve the survival and treatment of patients"

Tom Prince Cancer Trust Family Photo

23 May 2019

“UCL has world-leading expertise in cancer research and it was inspiring to see the expertise, dedication and enthusiasm that Professor Adrienne Flanagan’s team has. They’re pushing the boundaries of our understanding of this rare cancer, working to make discoveries that will change the lives of those diagnosed with the disease.

“We’re thrilled to be included as part of UCL’s Donor Wall and that our donation has set up the first UK-wide Osteosarcoma research project which aims to improve the survival and treatment of patients.” – Clinton and Adele Prince, Founders and Trustees of The Tom Prince Cancer Trust

Osteosarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer that primarily affects young adults and teenagers. Over the last 30 years, survival rates haven’t improved for those diagnosed with the disease, and in the last 10 years no new treatments for osteosarcoma have become readily available for patients. 

However, with UCL’s pioneering research and major breakthroughs in other types of cancer, we could now be on track to find answers to some of the most fundamental questions about osteosarcoma. None of this would be possible without the support of amazing charities like The Tom Prince Cancer Trust. 

Our journey has been both heart-breaking and heart-warming.”

The Tom Prince Cancer 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. In July 2016, just over a decade since the Trust was founded, the family hit their target.

After careful deliberation, the family decided to donate this hugely personal gift to UCL in order to set up the Tom Prince Osteosarcoma Research Project. This is a UK-wide research network for osteosarcoma, led by Professor Adrienne Flanagan, Head of the Department of Pathology at the UCL Cancer Institute.

The trail-blazing project is analysing samples and data collected through ICONIC – the UK's first ever osteosarcoma patient registry and clinical study being led by UCL’s Dr Sandra Strauss. ICONIC aims to capture patient samples and complete medical data from osteosarcoma patients of all ages, which will undergo comprehensive, large-scale molecular analysis in line with Genomics England 100,000 Genomes Project. 

Iconic Research ProjectProfessor Adrienne Flanagan says: “We’re 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. 

“What we have now is a major opportunity to get an unprecedented understanding of sarcoma cancer on a molecular level. Our lack of knowledge surrounding the different sarcoma subtypes on a genomic basis and the way they develop and evolve, has led to a current treatment vacuum for the disease. 

“This project is truly ground-breaking and will bring together 35 scientific experts from across the UK to investigate around 1,000 genetic sarcoma samples. We already have 200 samples from 80 patients, and once complete it will represent the largest collection of primary osteosarcomas to be analysed globally.”  

She adds: “We’re hoping that this research will enable us to better identify patients who are suited to specific targeted therapies, provide personalised medicines and offer clinical trials. Our primary goal is accelerating research into osteosarcoma which will lead to an improvement in treatment and survival of patients with the disease.”

Celebrating our donors 

In recognition of transformational philanthropy at UCL, on the 23rd May, UCL is unveiling its new Donor Wall at the heart of its Bloomsbury campus. 

This striking art installation has been created by Slade School of Fine Art graduate, Dr Sarah Fortais, and will feature the hands of over 60 of the university’s most generous donors cast in aluminium and bronze. These donors are members of the UCL Circle of Benefactors who have supported UCL with transformational giving over £1 million in areas such as cancer research, neuroscience, scholarships and more.

The occasion will also celebrate UCL’s It’s All Academic Campaign reaching the £525m milestone ahead of schedule and bringing us closer to our £600m goal.