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Cancer Research UK invests £16 million into hard to treat cancers

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by Cancer Research UK | News

13 May 2016

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Cancer Research UK is investing in four UK-wide collaborations to inspire new approaches to understanding and treating cancers with low survival.

The Centres’ Network Accelerator Awards are investing up to £16 million pounds in research over the next five years.

Cancer Research UK UCL Centre* will receive £4 million to roll out a national post-mortem tissue bank from patients with hard to treat and metastatic cancer. This study will be vital for understanding the evolution and final stages of the disease and researching the genetics of brain tumours which are hard for doctors to take samples from when patients are alive.

These samples will help scientists understand how tumours develop and spread, how and why tumours become resistant to treatment, how the body reacts to the disease during the final stages, as well as looking at ways to boost the immune system to fight the disease in the future.

The Cancer Research UK ICR Centre** will receive over £4 million to look into the best way to deliver three advanced radiotherapy techniques to patients with hard to treat oesophageal and lung cancer, for which survival remains low. The funding will train experts and look at the best ways to deliver stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, image-guided radiotherapy, and proton beam therapy to patients and develop new technology to provide the best care plans.

Cancer Research UK Southampton Centre*** will receive about £4 million to investigate how tumours respond to immunotherapy, aiming to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from these types of treatment and finding ways of making it more effective.

The funding will allow scientists to investigate new ways to harness the power of immunotherapy to treat lung and oesophageal cancers, which still have poor survival. The funding will recruit and train experts to unravel the genetic code of tumours, bring experts together to develop ways to combine cutting-edge science and technology.

Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre**** will receive about £4 million to focus on the most common form of brain tumours and set up a crucial research resource. Scientists will take samples from patients’ tumours during surgery and then grow these brain tumour cells in the lab to study the faulty molecules that underpin the disease. This resource will provide the bases to discover better ways to treat and diagnose brain cancer.

Dr Iain Foulkes, executive director for research funding at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s really exciting that we’re investing in these innovative and collaborative research projects across the UK. We were really impressed by how the researchers have united their expertise to provide an extra boost to tackle cancers that are hard to treat, like brain and lung cancer.”


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