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Sheffield launches new cancer research Centre

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by Cancer Research UK | News

25 October 2011

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Cancer Research UK and Yorkshire Cancer Research have come together for the first time today (Tuesday) to fund a new cancer research centre in Sheffield.

The Sheffield Cancer Research Centre becomes the latest link in a unique chain of Cancer Research UK Centres that have been launched across the UK.

These Cancer Centres draw together world class research and medical expertise to provide the best possible results for cancer patients nationwide. Cancer Research UK, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Yorkshire Cancer Research (YCR) are all partners in this new Centre.

This latest Centre will be have its clinical base at Weston Park Cancer Hospital – one of only three dedicated cancer hospitals in the country, and link with laboratory facilities both within the Medical School and across the University of Sheffield. It will help set the pace for national and international progress in many different types of cancer, with particular interest in breast and lung cancers and a strong focus on the spread of cancers to the bones.

The Centre will foster strong links with the local community, increasing awareness of the world-class cancer research taking place right on their doorstep.

Scientists at the Centre will also be investigating the fundamental biology of cancer – understanding how the disease starts and how it grows and spreads. Researchers will also study how cancers interact with the cells and tissues that surround them, and how they grow a blood supply. By understanding this ‘tumour micro-environment’, researchers are developing exciting new approaches for treating cancer.

Collaboration is the key to the success of the Centre, which will enable researchers who do not normally work together to exchange ideas and information more easily. The Centre will also help train the next generation of cancer researchers through studentships and fellowships, continuing Sheffield’s strong tradition of training and development.

Local businessman, Dave Wickett, 64, of Fulwood, is receiving ongoing treatment for cancer and is particularly delighted with news of the Centre.

In January last year, the owner of Kelham Island Brewery was diagnosed with myeloma, a type of cancer that develops from plasma cells found in bone marrow. After chemotherapy treatment, he was in remission but the cancer returned in February this year with a tumour on his spine, leaving him in a wheelchair for life.

Dave said: “It’s great that the level of expertise, knowledge and collaboration in Sheffield has been recognised in this way and it really highlights the importance of research in our city for which I am busting with pride. The Centre will help the fantastic doctors and researchers put into practice what they are learning which will help cancer patients across South Yorkshire in the future.

“Everyone wants to see cancer cured and I am sure Sheffield people will also be proud to know that the city is at the forefront of the work helping to make this happen.”

Head of the new Centre, Professor Rob Coleman, YCR Professor of Medical Oncology based at Weston Park Cancer Hospital and the University of Sheffield, said: “This is an exciting development for cancer research in the Sheffield area. The new Centre will help build on Sheffield’s world class research and bring together a variety of researchers and clinicians to work together to improve the lives of cancer patients across South Yorkshire and beyond. By building closer links between scientists and doctors we want to increase the pace of research, leading to improved treatments for patients.”

Cancer Research UK and Yorkshire Cancer Research already support research in Sheffield, but Cancer Research UK is set to increase its contribution to over £2m a year to help develop the Centre. Yorkshire Cancer Research will increase its investment in Sheffield to over £1.5million per year.

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “Huge progress has been made in beating cancer since the charity was formed and we’re determined to carry on. 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. But we continue to welcome the generous donations we receive from the public to ensure we can continue to build on what we have started today.”

Carole Ogle, acting chief executive, Yorkshire Cancer Research, said: “This new Centre offers fantastic collaborative opportunities for researchers and clinicians to work together to strengthen treatments for cancer patients, within the region. It is thanks to the continued generosity of our Yorkshire supporters which has enabled us to increase our spend within South Yorkshire and provide funding for this Cancer Centre.”


For media enquiries please contact Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8300, or the out of hours’ duty press officer on 07050 264 059.