The only way we’ll find cures for childhood cancer is through comprehensive, innovative, creative and long-term scientific research. Understanding the highly specialized and technical details of childhood cancer research can be a challenge for the non-scientist, so here’s a list of five things you need to know.

1. Childhood cancer is fundamentally different than adult cancers

There are dozens of different types of childhood cancers, each requiring its own unique research projects. Childhood cancer is not one disease, but several. It’s not just adult cancer in little bodies. Targeted, specific research for all types of childhood cancer is needed to find less harmful treatments and cures.

2. We need to support fresh talent 

Attracting and retaining bright, young researchers is critical to the future of childhood cancer treatment. Pediatric oncology breakthroughs can take years of dedication. By funding young researchers early in their careers, we can attract the best minds to the field, engage them in promising studies and ensure consistent, long-term projects that provide real results.

3. Innovation is critical

Funding is very tight at the National Cancer Institute, so high quality childhood cancer projects often need to turn to philanthropy for sufficient funding.

4. Crucial research extends beyond treatment

Researching quality care, long-term outcomes and survivor success is important, too. Special grants allow frontline nurses to research quality of care and quality of life outcomes for their patients. Psychosocial research reveals the long-term side effects of childhood cancer and treatment, giving caregivers a better understanding of the needs of survivors.

5. Every cent helps

The cost of childhood cancer research is high. But, every donation, no matter how big or how small adds up to weeks and months and years of research.