As part of our celebrations marking our 10th birthday, we called for pieces of original pilot research that answer scientific questions in the field of primary bone cancer.

Candidates pitched their project live to a scientific panel and lay audience at our Strictly Research event, which formed the centrepiece of our 10th Birthday Conference at The Tetley in Leeds on Saturday 7 May. Our Strictly Research judges Donald Salter, Karen Blakey and Pip Large awarded scores and offered feedback, and the audience of patients, families, fundraisers and supporters were invited to then vote for their favourite.

We're delighted to announce the four recipients of our Strictly Research grants! All four projects will be funded by the Bone Cancer Research Trust, with the winning project receiving additional funding to present their work at a conference in the UK.

Mr. Kenneth Rankin


Evaluation of a novel MT1-MMP activated ferrous nanoparticle as a theranostic and surgery planning tool in Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma.

Kenneth Rankin is investigating a drug that will be used for both therapeutic and diagnostic purposes to improve the outcomes for Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma patients. This drug, developed at The University of Durham, is called a 'Theranostic Nanoparticle (TNP)' and once activated it can specifically destroy cancerous cells, while reducing toxicity to healthy cells, and improve the clarity of MRI scans to witness the tumours response to therapy.

Kenneth was the winner of the Strictly Research Sophie's Award, and will receive additional funding to present his work at a conference in the UK.

Dr. Helen Knowles

Helen Knowles

Does ANGPTL4 drive osteolysis, tumourigenesis and metastasis in osteosarcoma? Characterisation of a potential new therapeutic target

The tumour cells that make up an Osteosarcoma are known to produce a protein called ANGPTL4, which is thought to increase the progression, growth and spread of cancer while causing a destruction of the bone. Dr Knowles plans to demonstrate the functioning of ANGPTL4 in osteosarcoma and take the first steps in using this protein as a promising drug target for a novel osteosarcoma therapy.

Mr. Richard Craig

Richard Craig

Can a clear surgical margin be achieved in Ewing sarcoma of the extremities when based on measurements from post-chemotherapy imaging?

Richard Craig aims to improve the current surgical plans for Ewing sarcoma by determining the safest measurement for tumour removal which preserves as much healthy tissue as possible while ensuring all tumour cells are removed to prevent the recurrence of cancer. To do so, tumour measurements will be compared both before and after chemotherapy (when the tumour size has shrunk), in the hope that post-chemotherapy surgical assessment will allow a less aggressive surgical procedure to take place and reduce any long-term functional burden that many Ewing sarcoma patients currently face.

Professor Jeremy Whelan

Exploring the experiences of patients undergoing treatment and surviving with bone cancer

Jeremy WhelanProfessor Whelan will lead a study investigating the experiences of primary bone cancer patients, both during and after their diagnosis and treatment. This study hopes to narrow-the-gap between patients and healthcare professionals, determining the outcomes and services that really matter to the patients and the ways in which these can be improved to allow primary bone cancer patients to be involved in the decisions made about their healthcare.