Topic of Cancer originated in 2009 when Nigel Lewis-Baker approached a long-term friend and cancer patient, John Blackburn, with the idea of starting up a movement to provide support for cancer patients and their families locally. Nigel was diagnosed with inoperable, incurable, local advanced prostate cancer in May 2004 and, after the usual treatments began to fail, he was referred to Professor Hardev Pandha who was conducting a 14 month vaccine trial. As it turned out, this was the first of three clinical trials he has been involved with under Professor Pandha. Sadly, John died in 2015 after many years living with multiple myeloma. Nigel and John set up successful support groups in Bookham, Edinburgh, Dorking and Guildford. Professor Pandha’s work on immunotherapy, then a barely recognised science, was increasingly successful and he asked Nigel if ToC could extend its brief to be a fundraiser for the research team at the University of Surrey. Topic of Cancer charity was registered in 2013 and funds equipment, annual maintenance, staff costs and some PhD students. Nigel was also involved with CRUK, Macmillan and Prostate Cancer UK as Campaigner and Ambassador and is an American Cancer Society ‘Global Hero of Hope’ which all helped to promote Topic of Cancer to a wider audience, and in 2014 was awarded an MBE by HM the Queen for his services to people with cancer. Nigel stood down himself in 2019 feeling it was time for new blood and new ideas but is proud to have been a co-founder of ToC with John.
The principal aims and objectives of the charity are as follows:
- To advance the health of the public on a worldwide basis in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through cancer immunotherapy research;
- To raise funds to support immunotherapy research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in a world class clinical-based research centre at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey;
- To increase awareness of immunotherapy as a better treatment and possible cure for cancer.
- To provide cancer support groups for patients, survivors, carers and families offering opportunities for members to meet, socialise and share experiences and learn from each other and visiting guests.
Analysis of research funding shows that the majority of funds are spent on basic research and understanding the causes of disease. Much less is actually spent investigating prevention, diagnosis and treatment, which all define areas in which Immunology plays a huge role.
What sets us apart?
We are a patient led and totally volunteer run charity supporting a leading research team into immunotherapy as a treatment and cure for cancer and improving quality of life as against chemotherapy and other approaches. Based on site with the Royal Surrey County Hospital allows the scientist to work with live cultures direct from theatre, a unique arrangement. We also provide increasing numbers of local support groups across the UK. Unlike most cancer charities we have been able to keep our overheads to less than 2% ensuring that over 98% of monies raised goes directly to where donors and supporters intended.
It is hoped that advances in cancer immunotherapy research will provide multiple benefits, (such as extending and improving the lives of cancer patients), in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of cancer on a worldwide basis. If you would like to beat cancer through immunotherapy research, then please help support us. Thank you.
Topic of Cancer is a very personal organisation. Unlike many larger charities and fundraisers, our donors and supporters know exactly where every penny is spent. Furthermore, immunotherapy research is so unique, the research centres so few in the UK, donors can become familiar with the names of those actually performing the research. The UK is considered one of the world’s leaders in this branch of cancer research, even with only a few research centres. Indeed, the centre, located at the University of Surrey, has one of the main immunotherapy research teams with expertise in conducting clinical trials within their dedicated facility. If you, like us, believe it is important that the UK and its immunotherapy research centres continue to be recognised as world leaders, maintain the pace of their vital research and advance the treatments of cancer, then we need your support.
PROF. HARDEV PANDHA
Nigel Lewis -Baker, MBE
After a very varied life in the military and international airlines Nigel set up His own businesses in airline services, management consultancy, printing, web design and a fleet of mobile car valeting vans. Then the bomb was dropped in May 2004 with the diagnosis of inoperable, incurable, local advanced prostate cancer and his family’s lives had all changed for ever. In 2009 he and a friend set up Topic of Cancer to offer cancer patients and their families support, and as a patient of Prof Pandha undergoing an immunotherapy clinical trial, he expanded the charity in 2013 to help fund cancer immunotherapy research at the University of Surrey. Nigel has been involved with CRUK, Macmillan and Prostate Cancer UK as Campaigner and Ambassador and is an American Cancer Society ‘Global Hero of Hope’. In 2014 was awarded an MBE by HM the Queen for his services to people with cancer
ALISON STEADMAN OBE
SIR PAUL BERESFORD
Our Corporate Supporters & Partners
Motivation by Music
Milford Golf Club
Our 2022 rebrand
During the past decade, immunotherapy has permanently changed cancer treatment and it has become the standard of treatment in the NHS for many. When Topic of Cancer was launched in 2013, immunotherapy was still very much in its infancy, with Prof Pandha and his research team at the University of Surrey, one of the few centres spearheading research into this revolutionary type of cancer treatment. We have since witnessed its journey into the medical mainstream, as a powerful game-changing treatment for many cancer patients, improving quality and length of life.
We needed to make sure our charity brand, aims and vision reflected these seismic changes. During the pandemic lockdown the trustees had the opportunity to carry out some research with a range of people and reflect on the charity; where it is going, what functions well and where improvements could be made.
Our bold new refreshed brand is designed to be more accessible and modern, engaging with cancer patients and researchers, alongside reaching new audiences. Our aim is to support research into immunotherapies, so that new treatments for more cancers are developed, saving more lives and bringing hope for a better future.
We hope you like our new look. We are indebted to Ed Schofield, Creative Director at Yazaroo for his pro bono work in design and development. Our admin costs still remain at 1-2%, meaning nearly every penny donated goes directly to the point of need.