​On Saturday 11th November, Professor Allie Gartland and The Department of Oncology & Metabolism at The University of Sheffield Medical School, opened their doors for the Bone Cancer Research Trust and our supporters to get an interactive behind-the-scenes look at the pioneering research they are carrying out into primary bone cancer.

The day saw patients, parents, siblings and all those interested in the research the Bone Cancer Research Trust are funding at The University of Sheffield come together to visit the laboratory and see first-hand the amazing work our supporter’s fund.

The afternoon began with talks from PhD students Luke Tattersall, Daniëlle De Ridder and Kristina Schiavone to update the audience on their work aiming to identify new treatment targets for osteosarcoma. Following a short break for some tea, coffee and cake the lab tour commenced. The tour allowed our supporters to visit 4 stations in small groups for a personalised experience and insight into the different techniques used to study bone cancer, and the results Professor Gartland and her team can gain from these experiments.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust would like to say a huge thank you to all those that attending the day and to Professor Gartland, Dr Shelly Lawson, Dr Karan Shah, Luke Tattersall, Daniëlle De Ridder, Kristina Schiavone, Darren and Alex for welcoming us into their lab and sharing with us the hard work they carry out on a day-to-day basis.

We look forward to holding future open laboratory visits so please keep your eyes peeled for the dates to these. Sign up to our monthly e-news to be the first to hear of these events and more of what the Bone Cancer Research Trust have been up to!

Peter, a former osteosarcoma patient who attended the day with his family, has shared his wonderful feedback on the day with us:

Please keep running these as it was amazing, my family found it totally worthwhile and such a brilliant insight to what goes on behind the scenes. It was fascinating to see the detailed work in the laboratory and how the cancer affects the bones.
Please pass on my thanks to Prof Allie for being so accommodating to my family and being so engaging when I questioned her about the work she does with her team, and to Kristina for being such an amazing tour guide; she was a wealth of knowledge and really enjoyed talking to us about what goes on, her enthusiasm for her work really shone through!
It was a really thought provoking, interesting and informative afternoon and I am in awe of the scientists and their determination to help find the breakthrough that bone cancer needs.’

Peter’s daughter, 8 year old Lilli Grace, has written a fantastic round-up of her visit which she will share with her class this week!

On Saturday my Daddy was invited to a big meeting on bone cancer research. We arrived and me and my sister got balloons to play with while Mummy and Daddy met everyone. Then a lady called Allie said hello to me and my sister. She was the top laboratory scientist. She told me that if I could listen and answer some questions after the conference, then I would get a prize.
We went into a big hall with lots of seats and a big screen on the wall. There were a lot of people in there, and there were a lot of scientists too. One of the scientists talked about Zebrafish and how they were using them to help find a cure for bone cancer. I was asked questions about what cell eats away bone and which cell grows bone? I answered that Osteoclasts eat bone and Osteoblasts grow bone. Allie the scientist was very impressed. We then went on a trip around the hospital to visit the different laboratories. This was really interesting as I got to see all the special computers and scanners they use. The tour was great and my guide was called Kristina, she was a scientist from Malta.
After the tour we went into a hall and Allie asked me again which cells eat bone and which cells grow bone. She gave me a prize of 2 cuddly toys called Osty(blue) and Blasty(pink).