We’re delighted to announce we’ve joined forces with University of Birmingham and The Azaylia Foundation in the UK’s fight against childhood cancer.

Our partnership has collectively committed over £560,000 to co-fund two, fully-funded clinical PhDs in paediatric oncology, helping to create the next generation of leaders in childhood cancer.

Five new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed every day, yet it receives less than 3% of all cancer research funding. This much-needed investment will provide expert clinicians, under the title of the Azaylia Childhood Cancer PhD Fund, the opportunity to complete groundbreaking, world-class research into the early diagnosis of childhood cancer and more importantly, find new and gentler treatments to improve survival rates.

Professor Pamela Kearns, Professor of Clinical Paediatric Oncology at University of Birmingham and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “We’re delighted to have funded the first two Azaylia childhood cancer clinical PhD scholars in paediatric oncology, thanks to an outstanding gift of over £280,000 from The Azaylia Foundation, which has been matchfunded by University of Birmingham and Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. Parents always want to know, ‘why did my child get cancer?’ and ‘can you cure my child?’. We are now in a strong position to extensively research the answers to these questions.”

Mark Brider, charity CEO, said: “Research into childhood cancer is essential to improve survival rates and discover safer treatments. It’s an honour to partner with both our friends at University of Birmingham and The Azaylia Foundation to cofund these much-needed paediatric oncology clinical PhD roles. Our collaboration will help create the next generation of leaders in childhood cancer and positively change the experiences and outcomes for our brave patients and families.”

Dr Anindita Roy, a trustee for The Azaylia Foundation and Associate Professor of Paediatric Haematology at the University of Oxford, added: “Paediatric oncology clinician scientists are rare. The Azaylia Childhood Cancer PhD Fund is a hugely positive step in facilitating change as now those who have seen first-hand the devastating realities faced by young cancer patients will be able to take their insights and ideas into the laboratory and then back into clinical practice.”

 The launch of the Azaylia Childhood Cancer PhD Fund celebrated the one year anniversary of The Azaylia Foundation, a charitable organisation created by Ashley Cain and Safiyya Vorajee following the tragic passing of their daughter, Azaylia Diamond Cain, of leukaemia in April 2021. The Azaylia Foundation’s immediate ambition is to help fund up to 10 clinical PhDs across the UK within two years.