About the Childhood Cancer Research Group

The Childhood Cancer Research Group (CCRG) has always been a research group built around the National Registry of Childhood Tumours. From 2011 its core programme funding comes from the Department of Health, National Cancer Intelligence Network,and from the medical research charity, Children with Leukaemia (now Children with Cancer).


Between 1956 and 1973 a nationwide case-control study of children with cancer (the Oxford Survey of Childhood Cancers, OSCC) was carried out at the Department of Social Medicine at Oxford. This study originally included only dead children, notifications being received through death certificates. The data collection was later extended so that cancer registrations for children diagnosed alive from 1962 onwards were also obtained; it then became possible to carry out analyses of survival rates and of the natural history of childhood tumours. The requirements of these analyses and the construction of manual indexes and computer files of registration and death certificate data produced the basis for a registry of childhood tumours.

In 1973 the Standing Medical Advisory Committee (SMAC) Sub-Committee on Cancer set up a working party on childhood tumour registration. This working party reported in 1974 and as a result of its recommendations the CCRG was established in April 1975 under the directorship of Gerald Draper. The registration and death certificate data collected as part of the extended OSCC formed the basis for what was to become the NRCT.

SMAC's recommendations that the CCRG should house and develop the NRCT to become an exemplar for childhood cancer classification and registration and that it should continue to undertake a wide range of epidemiological studies of all types, have guided the work of the CCRG ever since. Until September 1979 the group was administratively within the Department of the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford. Since then it has been part of the Department of Paediatrics. The group collaborates closely, both locally in Oxford and nationally with the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) which is the organisation of paediatric oncologists and other clinicians who manage most cases of childhood cancer across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire. Many other individual research workers in Britain, Europe, Australia and North America in particular, are involved in collaborations also with the CCRG.

Mike Murphy replaced Gerald Draper as Director of the CCRG with effect from 1st January 2003. Gerald had been at the helm for 27 years before his retirement in 2002 and remains an honorary member of the CCRG. Charles Stiller is Director of the NRCT.