Leicester secures funding for new Cancer Research UK Centre

Posted by er134 at Nov 21, 2013 01:46 PM |
University of Leicester and Leicester’s Hospitals partnership wins backing for new centre of excellence

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 21 November 2013

Leicester is to house a prestigious Cancer Research UK Centre as part of a national £100 million investment by Cancer Research UK to help train a new generation of cancer researchers and get new treatments and diagnostics to cancer patients sooner, it has been announced.

The investment marks the latest phase in the development of the Cancer Research UK Centres network of excellence – a unique chain of research hubs that have been established across the country.  This new £100m of funding will further draw together world class research and medical expertise to provide the best possible results for cancer patients nationwide.

The Leicester centre is a partnership between the University of Leicester and Leicester’s Hospitals working with the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University and the locally-based charity Hope Against Cancer.  The Centre is based across the University and the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The bid was led by Professor Catrin Pritchard, Professor of Cancer Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry at the University and Professor Will Steward, Vice-Dean of the Medical School, Chair of Medical Oncology and Head of the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester.

Cancer Research UK is providing funding over three years from April 2014 and will provide staff positions to support the Centre’s infrastructure and a PhD studentship account for training the next generation of cancer researchers.

The focus of the research will be on lung cancer and B cell malignancies; chemoprevention, early detection, stratified medicine and targeted therapies, and radiation research.

Professor Pritchard said: “We are absolutely delighted with this award, especially as not all CRUK Centre applications were successful this time round. We have worked so hard to get to this point - it has really been a team effort by colleagues within the University of Leicester, the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the MRC Toxicology Unit with essential support from Hope Against Cancer. The success is testament to the quality of our research, underpinned by an extraordinary collegiate and supportive environment at Leicester.”

Professor Steward added: “This award means we have been recognized for the excellent research we do and puts Leicester on the national map in terms of the contribution we make to advances in cancer research and treatment. The funding will help us to work more effectively across the local university and hospital environments and this will undoubtedly increase the pace of our research, leading to improved treatments for patients and better prevention strategies. A core part of the Centre’s role will be training the next generation of cancer researchers and we will be able to offer some of the brightest young scientists the opportunity to work at the very cutting edge of the field.”

One of the key aspects of the initiative is to enable Centres in different locations to collaborate.

Professor Pritchard said: “For us, this will open up opportunities to work with top scientists and clinicians in other CRUK Centres around the country particularly in the areas of lung cancers, mesotheliomas, lymphomas, chemoprevention and early detection. This means a better chance of taking new discoveries from the laboratory into the clinic so that they that can have real impact on cancer treatment and prevention. We will be working hard to engage the local community in our activities to make sure the investment in our Cancer Centre has benefit for everyone.

A core part of the network’s role will involve training the next generation of cancer researchers. Nearly 200 PhDs will be funded through the network, including around 80 PhDs specifically for cancer clinicians. This is the largest cancer focused cohort of clinical PhDs in the EU.

The investment follows an extensive process overseen by an international panel of experts who chose the centres with the most exciting potential to deliver advances in cancer research to benefit patients. In total 21 locations applied to be part of the network of excellence.

Over the next few years Cancer Research UK aims to continue the development of its Centres initiative by providing funding to enable Centres in different locations to collaborate.  In this way experts from across the network will work together towards a common goal of beating cancer sooner.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "Funding these centres of excellence is one of the charity's priorities and will enable us to work towards the goals we have set to improve the treatment and survival of cancer patients. We must make sure we have the infrastructure to enable and push the boundaries in translational research – it’s an area that doesn’t get enough support or funding, but it’s a core part of what we must do – get the discoveries out of the lab and to the patient’s bedside.  We also have unprecedented opportunities to learn lessons from how individual patients respond to treatments. This can help us better target treatments to patients who will benefit most, but also help to develop new treatments for those who will not.

“None of that is possible without the generous donations we receive from the public. It is an incredible story of collaboration – the public, cancer patients, scientists, the NHS, universities and Cancer Research UK – all working together to translate new discoveries into better ways to understand and beat cancer.

“We are in a golden era of cancer research. The research tools at our disposal are unprecedented and these centres will grasp the opportunities that are within reach for them. Our research is saving lives today.  These centres will enable more research that will save more lives tomorrow.”

The Leicester bid team included:

Dr Richard Bayliss – Department of Biochemistry

Professor Karen Brown – Department of Cancer Studies & Molecular Medicine (CSMM)

Professor Martin Dyer – Department of CSMM

Professor Dean Fennell – Department of CSMM

Professor Andrew Fry – Department of Biochemistry

Professor Andreas Gescher – Department of CSMM

Dr G Don Jones – Department of CSMM

Professor Marion MacFarlane – MRC Toxicology Unit

Dr Nicola Royle – Department of Genetics

Professor Jacqui Shaw- Department of CSMM

Dr Simon Wagner – Department of CSMM

Mrs Steph Moutrey – Cancer Theme Administrator, College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology


To arrange interviews contact:

Steph Moutrey    Telephone: 0116 223 1524.

For media enquiries contact Laura Dibb in the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8051

Notes to editor:

* The Centres are partnerships working on a local level with universities, NHS hospital trusts/Boards, cancer networks and other charities, and on a national level with government and industry. Below is a list of the centres and their specialisms:

Belfast: lower gastrointestinal and prostate cancers; radiation oncology, experimental pathology and biobanking

Cambridge:    breast, prostate, haematological, pancreatic, oesophageal, ovarian and lung cancers; genomics, molecular pathology and imaging

Cardiff:    colorectal, breast, leukaemia, urological and prostate cancers

Edinburgh:    breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers; lifestyle, risk and prevention, stem cells and the cancer niche, signal transduction and biological mechanisms and stratification for prevention and therapy

Barts, London:    leukaemia, lymphoma and pancreatic, breast, cervical, ovarian, prostate and testicular cancers; personalised medicine, experimental medicine, prevention and early diagnosis and epidemiology

Glasgow:    pancreatic, prostate, ovarian, colorectal, brain and chronic myeloid leukaemia; sample collection, informatics, biomarkers, co-clinical trials, stratified clinical trials and functional screening

Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden, London:    sarcoma, breast, prostate, testicular, colorectal, ovarian, head and neck, paediatric and haematological cancers; drug development, molecular pathology, radiotherapy and radiology and bioinformatics

Leeds:    colorectal, urological, haematological, neurological and skin cancers; translational genomics and molecular pathology, viruses and immune therapy and radiation biology and therapeutics

Leicester:    lung cancer and B cell malignancies; chemoprevention, early detection, stratified medicine and targeted therapies, and radiation research

Manchester:    Lung cancer, gynaecological cancers, melanoma and haematological cancers; personalised medicine, radiotherapy, molecular pathology, screening and prevention

Newcastle:    biomarkers, mechanisms and management of clinical toxicity, biobanking and drug discovery

Oxford:    breast, colorectal, lung, pancreas, melanoma, urological, oesophageal, brain, ovarian and haematological cancers and sarcoma; therapeutic development, bioinformatics, radiotherapy, surgery and imaging

Southampton:    oesophageal, colorectal and head and neck cancers; Immunology, lymphoid biology, genetics and nutrition

Imperial College:    breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers; prevention and early intervention, imaging, physics and radiation therapy, surgical technology, new target identification and chemical biology and systems oncology and stratified medicine

UCL, London:    gastrointestinal, neuroendocrine, gynaecological, lung, paediatric and urological cancers, leukaemia, lymphoma, sarcoma and nervous system tumours; bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, cytometry, imaging and pathology/biobanking


About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research
  • The charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or visit www.cancerresearchuk.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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