April 21 Newsletter number 5

We are now just into the Spring Equinox and looking forward to a brighter future. In this issue we are profiling a new Trustee and hearing about an exciting project being led by Professor Hardev Pandha, as well as detailing new fund-raising initiatives.  We thought you might also like to know something about the charity’s finances.



Nigel Lewis-Baker, one of the two founder members of Topic of Cancer has very kindly agreed to become a Patron. We are so pleased that he has accepted this position and have no doubt that the charity will benefit greatly from his expertise and experience.

Ed Schofield joins ToC as a Trustee

Ed is a designer, business owner, and local politician. Ed studied Fine Art at the UCA graduating in 2010. After working for the UK’s largest sculpture dealer for five years, in 2015, he founded the design agency Yazaroo with support from the Prince’s Trust. In 2019 Ed was elected in the local elections to represent Ash Wharf as a Councillor, he also volunteers for the Prince’s Trust running digital marketing workshops in London. 

‘Why did I accept the invitation to become a trustee? Because who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to help fund this essential cancer research. This is an amazing opportunity to use my skills to help save lives, potentially on a global scale – there is no more worthy cause than that’.

Ed Schofield - Trustee
Ed Schofield – Trustee

Research Updates – Professor Hardev Pandha

Do long term cancer survivors hold the secret for new immunotherapies?  – Continuum Long term Survivor Study

Unlike cancer detected in its early stages, the vast majority of patients with advanced (metastatic) malignancies eventually succumb to their disease. Current treatments contribute to patient care largely through short or long term cancer ‘control’, but not disease elimination. This has been revolutionary in itself as ‘control’ may last a decade and beyond. However, rare patients with very advanced common cancers respond completely to their treatment (remove all of their cancer) with no recurrence in their lifetime. These  ‘super responders’ are the unique individuals who may yield crucial information as to the possible underlying mechanisms for complete tumour rejection. Oncologists have been extremely interested in the concept of complete cancer clearance and cancer cure and exploiting the mechanisms by which this is occurring.
Continuum Life Sciences, a company set up by Dr James Hull, himself a cancer survivor, set out to explore this, with the express aim to bring new immune based treatments into the clinic based on ‘super responders’. He has funded 7 University groups (Oxford, Manchester, Cardiff, Nottingham,  Swansea, Birmingham and Surrey) to work on this together, looking at the same problem from numerous angles. The remarkable patients and their journeys are highlighted in the company’s website (https://www.continuumlifesciences.com ) A formal trial, the first in the world, has been set up in Surrey, recruiting nationally, and to date 58 of these unique individuals are being assessed. The Surrey team are particularly interested in the bacteria we know colonises all cancers (called the cancer microbiome). These bugs can influence the growth of cancers and affect (hamper) the way current treatment work. We believe that super responders have an immune system (T cells in particular) that thinks the cancer is an infection (as they contain bacteria) and the powerful immune responses against the bacteria are cross-reactive against the cancer cells. This opens up a whole new field of exciting and novel immunotherapies.
It is hoped the first treatment, derived directly from super responder data findings in this research program, will be in clinical trial in 2-3 years.

Continuum Science


Pound sign
When I was a child I was always told it was impolite to talk about religion, politics or money but I shall ignore that and, in the interests of transparency, present a brief review of ToC’s finances. This last year has been hard for all charities as large fund-raising activities have been cancelled so our funds appear depleted compared to the previous year. In YE December 2020, our income was £47,032 compared to £83,597 in YE 2019. We must remember that the Purple Ball netted about £18,000 in 2019 and sadly was cancelled in 2020 . Our expenditure for 2020 was £85,024 of which £69,000 went in grants to the university, £11,000 on Support Groups and £4,000 on miscellaneous expenses. Fortunately, we have just about enough in our Deposit Account to cover the deficit but this next year will be difficult.   Our fixed commitments for 2021 are approx. £12,000 for Support Groups and £10,000 for consumables for the Research Team which we also hope support financially for any other requirements. We are not a charity which deals with hundreds of thousands of pounds but donors can be assured that every penny is accounted for and goes where it is needed, which is one of the benefits of being small and local. The charity is volunteer-run, and which means, unlike most charities, our admin costs are very low and nearly every penny donated goes to the point in need. 

Recent fund-raising events.

We had another very successful Quiz via Zoom in February, with around 80 participants grouped into breakout rooms within their teams. Worthy winners were ‘Broccoli is Lies’ with final scores as below:

An evening with Michael Buerk

On 18th March one of our patrons, Michael Buerk, hosted an evening in which he shared some of his career and personal experiences with a large Zoom audience. Questions were shared via the chat and it was a really interesting evening, enjoyed by all our supporters. We were able to raise over £900 thanks to donations and tickets from the event, so Thank You to all those who attended.


Micael Buerk

Forth coming events 

Friday 21st May – An afternoon of Golf  

We’re delighted to announce the first ‘live’ event of 2021, with our 1st golf afternoon on Friday 21stMay at Chiddingfold Golf Club. Full details below but it should be a lot of fun.
If you have a local business and would like to display a banner at the event cost is from just £15 and all money raised goes directly to the charity:
Chiddingfold Golf Club – 1.00pm meet for 1.30pm starting tee times

Cost: £40 per person – you can enter as an individual but played in teams of 4:  includes bacon buttie on arrival (or vegetarian option), 18 holes of golf, barbeque platter afterwards and prizes for nearest the pin, longest drive, best overall team, best individual score and ‘Beat the Pro’ on the 18th green.
to buy tickets visit: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/topicofcancer/496998 and if you would like to display a banner at the event or support in any other way please contact:  sarah.bishop@topicofcancer.org.uk

Full details of others please watch our web-site but dates will be:
Thursday 22 July 1pm – Charity Golf Day at The Drift Horsley in collaboration with Oakleaf
Thursday 16th September from 12pm – Autumn Charity Golf Day at The Drift, Horsley

Virtual London Marathon – Sunday 3rd October

We have secured 2 places for the virtual London Marathon, and if you would like to apply for 1 of these coveted places please contact chair@topicofcancer.org.uk. You choose your route and have 23hrs, 59 mins to complete and will receive an official London marathon tee shirt and medal.

Other fund-raising opportunities:
Don’t forget we appreciate anything you can do to help support the important work ToC are doing, either through the ground breaking research or the local support groups, which really help cancer patients and their families. Other ways you can help continue to raise funds are detailed:
Guildford Community Lottery
An easy way to support Topic of Cancer is to get involved in the Guildford Community Lottery monthly draw. We appreciate the support – and you could possible win £25,000 what a winner.
To enter please follow this link: https://www.guildfordlottery.org/support/topic-of-cancer

Amazon Smile  With non- essential retailers still closed for business so many people are ordering ‘on-line’ by ordering via Amazon Smile, and selecting to donate to Topic of Cancer, 0.5% of Amazon sales will go to our charity.

Thank you for your continued support – and we look forward to seeing some of you at our fund – raising events. 

Stay safe and well,

The Trustees.


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