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Cancer Research UK launches with biggest research initiative for 50 years

The Cancer Research UK logo
by Cancer Research UK | News

4 February 2002

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CANCER RESEARCH UK launches today with a £75 million programme of new investment – the most significant cancer research initiative in Britain for 50 years.

Partnerships with universities, Government and other charities will bring research institutes to Oxford, Cambridge and Newcastle, expansion of another in Glasgow and a fast-track collaboration with the National Cancer Institute in America.

Experts believe that the merger of The Cancer Research Campaign and Imperial Cancer Research Fund and the added investment that will result from this initiative and others will make Britain the world’s new hope for finding cures for cancer and preventing the disease in new ways.

The programme is made up of 5 projects:

  • A £40 million, state-of-the-art research institute in Cambridge, employing 300 researchers. This will be a joint project with the University of Cambridge.
  • A £15 million population research institute in Oxford, to study the prevention and control of cancer and other killer diseases. Again, this is a joint initiative, with Oxford University and the British Heart Foundation.
  • Establishing a new £11 million research centre – the Northern Institute for Cancer Research – in Newcastle, in partnership with Government, the Foundation For Children With Leukaemia and Newcastle University, to focus on the development of new anti-cancer drugs.
  • In the process of agreeing the funding and final planning for an expansion of the Beatson Cancer Research Institute in Glasgow, with the likely recruitment of a new Director.
  • A new contract with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in America to exchange resources, share best practice and facilitate the exchange of ideas and information about cancer research. The NCI’s budget is $3.5 billion of US Government money, so fast-tracking its most recent findings will be of major benefit to the UK.

And on World Cancer Day (4th Feb, 2002), Cancer Research UK is also announcing six primary aims, to ensure it fulfils its mission of conquering cancer through world class research.

These are:

  • To cure cancer patients faster: By sharing high tech equipment and facilities, collaborating more effectively and extending our network of clinical trials, we intend to fast-track treatments from the bench to the bedside.
  • To cut numbers of people getting cancer: By researching the causes of cancer, we aim to introduce effective lifestyle advice, screening, preventative drugs and vaccines, to reduce the incidence of the disease.
  • To bring better treatments to cancer patients: Funding innovative research into treatments that are targeted to the tumour and tailored to the individual should reduce side-effects and improve quality of life.
  • To train more cancer doctors, nurses and scientists for research: By tailoring training programmes to the needs of young researchers and providing attractive career options we intend to recruit and train the best people and keep them within the UK cancer research arena.
  • To be the authoritative source of information on cancer: With expert spokespeople, an award-winning information website and dedicated cancer nurses, we aim to help the public make sense of cancer and empower patients to take informed, up-to-date decisions about their treatment.
  • To maximise resources available for cancer research: Pooling together best practice, extending activities overseas and exerting more influence on Government should optimise the resources available for research.

Cancer Research UK will be in the ideal position to achieve its ambitions. With an annual scientific budget of over £130 million and a team of 3,000 dedicated researchers, doctors and nurses, working out of Britain’s leading universities, hospitals and research institutes, it will be the largest independent cancer research organisation in the world.

Britain’s newest charity has a remit to develop tools to help the delivery of faster and earlier diagnosis, more effective, less toxic treatment and long-term prevention.

Joint Director General of Cancer Research UK, Prof Gordon McVie, says: “This is a red letter day for cancer patients everywhere and signals the dawn of a new age for research. Cancer is by far the most complex disease known to man and conquering it will be a challenge to both the intellect and the imagination. My vision is to remove the fear of cancer for our children’s children and this is our best bet yet of making that vision a reality.”

Joint Director General of Cancer Research UK, Dr Paul Nurse, adds: “Separately, as Imperial Cancer Research Fund and The Cancer Research Campaign, we struggled to buy the expensive facilities and high-tech equipment modern research requires. Together, this will now be possible, increasing the speed by which lab bench discoveries translate to patient benefits.”

Baroness Hayman, Chairman of Cancer Research UK, adds: “There will be enormous public expectation for us to deliver on new treatments for cancer and we are all excited by that challenge. It will be a privilege to lead Cancer Research UK as it works to make a real difference for the world’s cancer patients.”

Prof Andrew Miller, Interim Chief Executive, says: “It is timely that Cancer Research UK comes into being on World Cancer Day, since the charity will provide a new source of hope for the 250,000 people in Britain and the 5 million worldwide who develop the disease each year.”