New hope for cancer patients

Issued by Hope Against Cancer on 11 January 2012

Hard hats and high visibility jackets are being donned at the Leicester Royal Infirmary as building work starts on a new state-of-the-art cancer trials unit operated in conjunction with the University of Leicester. 

The Hope Against Cancer Clinical Trials Unit will officially open its doors in the spring and will provide the East Midlands with a centre of excellence in clinical cancer research.   

The new unit is funded by Leicester’s Hospitals and Hope Against Cancer, a charity launched in 2002 that raises funds for local cancer research in Leicestershire and Rutland to improve the area’s status as a leading centre for cancer research and treatment. 

Wendi Stevens of Hope Against Cancer said: “We are delighted to be able to work in partnership with Leicester’s Hospitals to provide the very best care for local people suffering from cancer.  Our ability to support the construction of this facility is entirely due to the support we have received over the years from local people. 

“We would like to continue to raise valuable funds to help equip the Unit and furnish it in a way that will make patients as comfortable as possible while taking part in trials and receiving treatment. Therefore we would be delighted to receive donations from individuals or through fundraising events that may help us achieve this."                                                                   

Dr Nicky Rudd, clinical director of cancer services at Leicester’s Hospitals, said:  “The construction of the unit is a very exciting new development.  Our aim is for Leicester to become an established major international centre for oncology research.  Building work starting marks the beginning of this exciting project and means that our research work can take place in a purpose built area, designed specifically for our needs.”

Leicester’s Hospitals serve a population of over one million and diagnose and treat patients from the local area.  Clinicians also offer treatment to patients from outside of Leicestershire and Rutland, specifically for the treatment of cancers of the pancreas, lung, and kidney as well as melanomas, leukaemia and lymphoma.  These are all cancers that will be thoroughly researched in the new unit.    

Clinicians from Leicester’s Hospitals are already leaders in research into cancer and are recognised internationally for their work in the field.  The opening of the Hope Against Cancer Clinical Trials Unit will mean that medics will be able to develop and build on the work that they do in a purpose built centre.

The trials that will be run in the Hope Unit will be those at the cutting edge of research. We will be using drugs at the very early stage of development in a wide range of haematological malignancies and solid tumours. The main focus of these studies is to develop targeted therapies. By this we mean treatment that only attacks the cancer cells, rather than normal tissues as well. We therefore hope that these types of drugs will have fewer side-effects, be more effective and will be the drugs of the future.

Some examples of the trials include a new vaccine therapy in patients with advanced melanoma, a new targeted therapy in breast cancer that is given with chemotherapy to improve the effectiveness of the treatment and a new tablet treatment in chronic leukaemia which interferes with the signals within the cancer cells thereby stopping the cells growing and dividing.

Builders are working to convert an area within the Osborne Building and create a centre that will allow treatment for up to six patients at a time.  Two dedicated clinic rooms will mean that patients can have private time with their oncologist.  The unit will also contain a small laboratory with fridges and freezers to store medicines and medical samples.


Notes to editors:

Hope Against Cancer was launch in 2002 and to date have raised over £2.2 million, enabling the charity to fund 28 research fellowships in the Hospitals and Universities of Leicester including DMU & Loughborough looking at many cancers including bladder, ovarian, prostate, melanoma, liver, bowel, leukaemia, colorectal and breast cancer. They have also funded nursing fellowships, relating to patient care.

Anyone interested in organising an event to raise funds should contact Wendi Stevens at the Hope offices, telephone 0116 270 0101, email:  Alternatively donations can be made by texting HFCR01 and the amount to 70070.  You can donate any amount up to £10.00 using this method.

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