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Cancer Research UK receives largest ever donation

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by Cancer Research UK | News

18 July 2012

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Cancer Research UK has been given a gift of £10 million from one of its supporters.  This is the largest one-off donation the charity has ever received, and comes alongside an additional gift of £10 million from the same donor for the University of Southampton.

The contribution of £10 million is to Cancer Research UK’s Create The Change campaign, which will raise £100 million for the Francis Crick Institute in London.  It is the largest capital campaign that Cancer Research UK has run and is the first time the charity will actively seek donations from outside the UK. 

The Francis Crick Institute, which will open in 2015, will be the largest biomedical research building in Europe and will have a strong focus on innovation and collaboration.

The additional gift to Southampton will help to build a cancer immunology centre that will have links to the Institute to speed up the translation of the Institute’s discoveries into benefits for patients. The centre will also open in 2015. 

Southampton, one of the leading sites for cancer research in the UK, has made a number of advances in tumour immunology and immunotherapy for more than a decade with a global reputation for its ‘bench to bedside’ results. To further maximise the potential for the new centre, the University will launch a campaign to raise a further £10 million to advance its world-leading role in cancer immunology research.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician who is also based at the University of Southampton, said: “These two donations will transform our ability to move new immune treatments for cancer from the laboratories in the Francis Crick Institute to patients, through the new cancer immunology centre in Southampton.  Harnessing the power of the immune system is one of the most promising areas of new cancer treatment, and this far-sighted initiative will really make a difference to both our scientific understanding and its practical application in the clinic.”

Dr Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “We’re extremely grateful for these extraordinarily generous donations. The gift for the Francis Crick Institute accounts for 10 per cent of the total we need to raise and takes us a huge step closer towards achieving our ambition of creating this world-class institute to help us beat cancer.  

“The additional donation to the University of Southampton will be used to build a centre which will help to translate scientific discoveries made at the Francis Crick Institute into benefits for patients faster. This is a fantastic example of how investment in science in one part of the UK can lead to further investment elsewhere and reflects the way that the Francis Crick Institute will work with other medical research centres.

“The Francis Crick Institute is a game-changing initiative for medical research, which will benefit countless people in the future and we’re thrilled to have received this donation for it.”

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton said: “This is an extraordinary act of generosity by a very special individual. This donation of £10 million is the largest ever gift received by the University of Southampton and will enable us to create and develop this new centre for cancer immunology research.

“This remarkable gift allows us to build on our expertise and expand the research teams in Southampton to make even greater progress in developing new treatments. The next few years will see great progress in immune therapies for cancer with the University of Southampton and the Francis Crick Institute at the very forefront of discovery.”

Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute, said: “The Francis Crick Institute is taking shape at its home at St Pancras in London. The Institute will support biomedical research and innovation across the UK by carrying out exceptional science, developing future scientific leaders, turning discoveries into benefits for patients, and engaging people in its work. This very generous gift will help us to bring together some of the world’s best scientists for the benefit of us all.”

For further information on Cancer Research UK’s Create The Change campaign, visit


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