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Royal opening for new £50m Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute

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by Cancer Research UK | News

2 February 2007

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HRH The Queen leaving the Cambridge Research Institute.

Her Majesty The Queen will today (Friday) officially open the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute. The Institute is a unique partnership between the University of Cambridge and Cancer Research UK. It will be dedicated to state-of-the-art research into the causes of cancer, and developing new treatments and bringing them to the clinic to benefit cancer patients.

“Our aim is to create an exciting environment of interdisciplinary collaboration so that researchers in many different fields will be able to work together with the single aim of beating cancer.” – Professor Alex Markham, Cancer Research UK.

The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute is housed in the recently completed Li Ka Shing Centre on the Addenbrooke’s Hospital site in Cambridge. Her Majesty The Queen, who is Patron of the Charity, will be accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and Sir Ka-shing Li, Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.

More than 300 scientists in up to thirty research groups will be based at the Institute. They will be led by Professor Bruce Ponder, Director and Li Ka Shing Professor of Oncology, whose research covers the genetics of breast cancer, and Professor Fiona Watt, Deputy Director and holder of the Herschel Smith Professorship of Molecular Genetics, who studies the link between stem cells and cancer. Other research at the Institute will range from cell biology to imaging and experimental medicine.

Construction by the University of the £50 million Li Ka Shing Centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus was funded jointly by Cambridge University, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., Cancer Research UK and The Atlantic Philanthropies, plus a range of other donors. Cancer Research UK has purchased approximately £15 million of state-of-the-art equipment for the Institute, funded through generous donations and an appeal spearheaded by Cyril Dennis MBE. Cancer Research UK will further provide around £20 million per year to core-fund research at the Institute.

Sir Ka-shing Li has long been a sponsor of cancer research at the University of Cambridge, support that was instrumental in the University securing the new Institute. A further recent gift from the Li Ka Shing Foundation has also endowed a new Professorship in Oncology at the University. Professor Ponder is the first holder of the post, overseeing all aspects of cancer research on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Professor Alison Richard, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “The visit of HM The Queen as Patron of Cancer Research UK, and of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as Chancellor of the University, illustrates the importance that the UK attaches to this crucial work, and is testament to the strength of this joint enterprise between the Charity and the University, supported by the generous and far-sighted philanthropy of Sir Ka-shing Li.”

Professor Ponder said: “The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, based in the magnificent Li Ka Shing Centre, gives us an exciting opportunity to harness the scientific strengths of Cambridge to solve the practical problems of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. We have recruited world class scientists who will do fundamental research into how cancers develop, and turn the results of this research into practical benefits for patients.”

Professor Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Our aim is to create an exciting environment of interdisciplinary collaboration so that researchers in many different fields will be able to work together with the single aim of beating cancer. New cancer treatments and diagnostics will enter clinical trials more quickly as a direct result of research carried out in the Cambridge Research Institute.”

Sir Ka-shing Li said: “I have seen, at first hand, how the benefits of healthcare research have translated into improvements in the quality of life to the sick and infirm. Cambridge University is one of the world’s beacons of learning, I have great faith that the research conducted at the Institute will prove to be invaluable and offer major medical advancements to the world.”


For media enquiries please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300 or, out of hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264059.