Topic of Cancer

Topic of Cancer was formed as a charity to raise awareness and funds for the essential research into cancer immunotherapy.

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.

The Trustees

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Our Patrons







Nigel Lewis-Baker MBE image




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Glyn Powell-Evans, Patron of Topic of Cancer, image




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About Us

Support Groups

At our core are the regional support groups meeting monthly to offer emotional and social support to patients, partners, carers and their families with educational, entertaining and social events. The groups enjoy visiting guest speakers including scientists, charities, celebrities, patient experiences, politicians and interest subjects. Members also enjoy trips out at least once a year. There are no booking requirements or membership fees. If you would like more information or to join one of our support groups, please look under the "Support Groups" heading, in the main navigation above, for your nearest group or e-mail us at

Our Purpose

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.

Our Corporate Supporters & Partners

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RHW Solicitors

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Vantage Point


Kelly's Storage




Connect Surrey


Linked Business




Thrive Fit


Motivation by Music


Nigel Lewis-Baker MBE image

Nigel Lewis-Baker MBE

Co-Founder and Honorary Life President


Nigel was diagnosed with inoperable, incurable, local advanced prostate cancer in May 2004. After the usual treatments began to fail he was referred to Professor Hardev Pandha who was conducting a 14 month vaccine trial. At the end of that time he was generously given the choice of returning to his oncologist or remaining in the care of the research team and had no hesitation in requesting he stay with the team. Since then he has taken part in two more clinical trials and received the best of care having at this time survived 17 years in treatment.

In 2009 Nigel approached a long-term friend and cancer patient, John Blackburn, who was a Bank Manager and an ideal partner in starting up a movement to provide support for other patients and their families locally. Since then there have been local groups in Bookham, Edinburgh, Dorking and Guildford with the ToC Fit exercise group and ToC Voices choir, both based in 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 team, which he happily agreed to. That is how the current ToC charity came into being and we have funded equipment, annual maintenance, staff costs and some PhD students. Sadly we lost John to multiple myeloma in 2015 and even though he had stood down some time before he still watched developments with great interest. 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.

Throughout these many years Nigel has given talks, presentations and interviews as well as being a regular campaigner in parliament, speaking at All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer meetings and attending their annual conferences in Westminster representing ToC. He has worked with CRUK, Macmillan and Prostate Cancer UK, and helped set up Cancer United in Sussex. He was invited by the American Cancer Society to talk with the UN in New York on Non-Communicable Diseases prior to a world summit and stayed in correspondence with the Prime Minister and several other Ministers for some time after. He is a founding Global Hero of Hope for the American Cancer Society and has published a book of his and worldwide cancer patients’ poems, Candles of Hope.

Fundraising has included many radio and television interviews, talks to Rotaries and other charitable bodies, walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End, a sky dive and dressing up in frock and wig for the Great Drag Race to promote awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. He also recruited and promoted our teams in Ride London, the Thames Path Challenge and other events.

Nigel has been presented with the CRUK top volunteer award, The Flame of Hope, two awards from Macmillan, the Mayor of Guildford’s award, the Mole Valley Volunteer Award and the BBC local Community Heroes Award for Outstanding Achievement. Local radio followed their award with a year of My Cancer Story conducted at both Guildford and Brighton, parts of which are now held in the National Archive, and that series was a finalist in the National Broadcast awards held in Leeds. He was also patient representative in the NICE appeal for the Radium 223 treatment in Manchester. The icing on the cake for him was being recognised in HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2014 that was invested on him by The Queen at Windsor Castle.


John Blackburn

Co-Founder Topic of Cancer.

John Blackburn set up Topic of Cancer with Nigel Lewis-Baker initially as a support group in 2009.

John and Nigel then registered Topic of Cancer as a charity in 2013. The ethos, which still stands, is to raise funds and awareness for immunotherapy treatments for various cancers and to support the  cancer community. Sadly John passed in in May 2015 and is greatly missed by his family friends and all at Topic of Cancer. From Yvonne Hall, former BBC presenter and Patron

“John Blackburn helped set up Topic of Cancer and without him there would be no fundraising into this vital area of research.  We are taking part in the half marathon in memory of his courage and bravery.”


BBC London News journalist, Yvonne Hall, is creating a series of short informative interviews with the trustees, scientists and fundraisers, to explain why immunotherapy research is so important, and how your donations are spent.

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