The Bone Cancer Research Trust is delighted to announce that we have made the shortlist for The Charity Awards 2019, the longest-running and most prestigious awards scheme in the charity sector.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust has been shortlisted in the Healthcare and medical research category for our National Bio-specimen Collection Project. Exasperated that outcomes for patients had seen little improvement in 30 years, the Bone Cancer Research Trust developed an innovative new approach to nationwide sustainable patient sample collection.

For the research community to fully understand primary bone cancer and to find new ways to develop treatments, tissue samples of the disease are needed for use in the laboratory. However, a range of issues were preventing these being collected from patients at treatment and surgical centres. New funding was being stifled as the chances of success were comparatively low, and research was concentrated on other forms of cancer where samples were available. Additionally, patients were frustrated at not being given the opportunity to support research.

In 2016 primary bone cancer fell into the remit of the government-funded 100,000 Genomes project, providing an amazing opportunity to uncover the genetics associated with these tumours. Therefore, the Bone Cancer Research Trust began preparatory work for a new model of tissue sample collection, which involved equipping existing NHS surgical centres around the country to collect samples, rather than the conventional model of building a single physical biobank.

Since the project launched, 1,167 patient samples have been collected and there has been a 45% increase in patients being approached to consent. There has also been a 100% increase in the open availability of samples for use in research with all samples being made available for relevant research projects. As a direct result, sarcoma has been the largest represented group of cancers in the 100,000 Genomes Project.

To be involved in research through sample donation feels good because you know you are helping someone else and you're turning a bad situation into a good thing.

Phoebe, primary bone cancer patient, age 14.

The Charity Awards is the sector’s most highly-regarded excellence recognition scheme. All 28 shortlisted charities this year have been judged by an independent panel of sector leaders as having demonstrated best practice in leadership and management, from which other organisations can learn.

The ten category winners, plus the recipients of the Overall Award for Excellence and the Daniel Phelan Award for Outstanding Achievement, will be announced at a black-tie dinner on 5 June, held in the grounds of the Tower of London.

The evening will be hosted by the Rev Richard Coles, who will be joined on the night by a host of celebrities, representatives of the shortlisted charities, as well as leaders from Britain’s best known and best loved charities.

Matthew Nolan, chief executive of Civil Society Media, which organises the Charity Awards, congratulated the Bone Cancer Research Trust on making the highly-coveted shortlist. He said:

Once again we received a record number of entries to the Charity Awards, and the breadth and quality of the work being done by charities across the sector continues to astonish. The Bone Cancer Research Trust should be very proud to have made the shortlist. For 20 years the Charity Awards have been identifying and celebrating the fantastic work that UK charities do. Our rigorous judging process highlights those charities with the most innovative ideas and the most effective approaches to delivering real change. All the nominees on this year’s shortlist are examples of large and small charities who are truly leaders in their field. I wish the Bone Cancer Research Trust the very best of luck on the night.

Dr Zoe Davison, Head of Research and Information at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said:

We are truly honoured to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award. The Bone Cancer Research Trust is dedicated to changing the future landscape for bone cancer patients and we identified this could only happen by improving sample availability and working in collaboration with the five NHS bone cancer surgical centres in England. We have provided them with the resources they need to ensure adequate infrastructure is in place to make significant progress. It’s an absolute privilege that our efforts, commitment and dedication has been recognised by The Charity Awards.

Awards judges Lynne Berry and Danielle Walker Palmour said:

They demonstrated great success in getting an awful lot of patients to donate samples, in a very cost-effective way. The charity appeared to have listened closely to its beneficiaries and was driven to act by their needs.

Sir John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) comments:

As a long-term sponsor of the Charity Awards, we at the Charities Aid Foundation are proud to be associated with the premier national event that celebrates and showcases the best of what British charities do year in year out. Strong leadership, innovation, service excellence and a commitment to transparency; all of the shortlisted charities live these values, and it’s only right they receive recognition for their amazing work. Long may this continue and best of luck to these remarkable charities, who all make this country a better place.

The Bone Cancer Research Trust would like to thank the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Freeman Hospital, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital for their outstanding contribution to patient sample collection and for their ongoing commitment to the project.