Sarcoma UK raises funds in order to improve the lives of people affected by these cancers.

To achieve that aim, we invest a huge amount in research. The diagram here shows how funds, research and support are connected, and we explain some the terms used below. Please have a look at some of the research projects that we have funded to see examples of the complex and groundbreaking work that you make possible through your support.

Infographic of the research cycle

Ideas

Knowledge and understanding that may have come from previous work or from reading an academic paper.  Researchers need to find data and evidence to back up an idea.

Research Project

A project will be designed to investigate an idea (also known as testing a hypothesis).  A project will be defined and planned in advance, including drawing out the necessary steps needed to investigate the idea and reach an answer. There are many types of research project.  They could involve lab work; a prospective study looking at a test or change to treatment; a retrospective study looking at a specific questions; or a study based on patient data and questionnaires.

Research projects need funding, which is where your vital donations go.  For example, the project may need to be staffed using nurses and researchers, or it may need funding to print and distribute questionnaires.  Other costs could also come from seeking ethical approval and licensing to meet regulatory requirements.

Results

The research project should produce a set of data to analyse and from which to draw conclusions.  By analysing these results, researchers begin to see the impact and influence of the research.

Academic papers

Results and conclusions from research are published in academic journals for other researchers to read.  These are sometimes called outputs. This is how the information is communicated globally.  Researchers will then acknowledge these papers in their own work.  The sharing of these results is integral to academic progress and research, to actively and openly contribute to the knowledge base for others to read and use.  This is a key component of research funded by both the charity sector, UK Government and European Union.

Interesting questions

Work done in one study may open a new area of interest for either the researcher doing the work, or another researcher who would read about the work in an academic paper.  This will then lead to the generation of new ideas and questions to be researched, maintaining the cycle of research.

Changes to practice

Results from these studies can yield immediate changes to way sarcoma is diagnosed or treated, which is where the direct benefits to patients can be seen.  This may relate to: diagnostic testing, surgical interventions and treatment regimens for chemotherapy.  These results will also provide evidence for policy driven changes linked to commissioning and service provision.

Intellectual property and technology transfer

Depending on the type of research, especially in the drug development or devices field, new discoveries may involve management of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer.  This relates to the transition between the experimental phase and the process by which use becomes standardised.  This stage is also linked to the changes to practice by which new drugs, devices and procedures become available for use.  An aspect of this is the Commercialisation pathway around the process of taking a product to market.

Improvements for patients

This is the key aim for Sarcoma UK. We are working towards a better patient experience from the very first interaction with a clinician.