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Garfield Weston Foundation kickstarts new Manchester campaign to ‘re-write’ the future of cancer with £1m gift

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by Cancer Research UK | Philanthropy and partnerships

2 December 2019

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An artist’s impression of the new Manchester research facility expected to be completed in 2022.

We celebrate the first donation towards our ‘Re-write Cancer’ campaign, launched last week, which sees Cancer Research UK join forces with The Christie Charitable Fund and The University of Manchester. 

On Thursday, we launched the ‘Re-write Cancer’ campaign to deliver the final £20m needed to build a new £150m cancer research facility in Manchester. And today, we’re delighted to announce the campaign’s first donation – an incredible £1m from the Garfield Weston Foundation.

Expected to open in 2022, the new comprehensive facility will replace the Paterson building – which suffered a devastating fire in 2017. More than 300 scientists and support staff were displaced and relocated to allow them the best opportunity to continue their pioneering cancer research.

The new world-class facility, which will be twice the size of the previous building, has been purposefully designed to foster collaboration and accelerate progress on behalf of cancer patients in the North West and across the world. The new purpose-built biomedical centre will attract collaborators from far and wide, bringing together the largest concentration of scientists, doctors and nurses in Europe working together to benefit cancer patients.

Philippa Charles, Director at the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “The Trustees are proud to support the construction of this new, state-of-the-art, translational research facility in Manchester. Cancer patients will benefit sooner as a result of researchers, clinicians and patients working together all under one roof, and we look forward to seeing the wide impact of this exciting project.”

Manchester is a place of world-firsts in cancer research, including the first clinical use of Tamoxifen for breast cancer. But cancer incidence and mortality in Greater Manchester is significantly higher than the average, which means there is huge potential for translational research and groundbreaking clinical trials in the region.

Uniting three powerhouses of innovation – Cancer Research UK, The Christie and The University of Manchester – the flagship project will help position Manchester as a world leader in recruiting patients to clinical trials. Manchester is the only city in the world with a devolved health and social care budget, which means clinical leaders can trial experimental approaches to cancer treatment and care. Clinical trials are vital for researchers and clinicians to investigate whether new treatments are safe and more effective than current treatments. Our aim is to double the number of patients who are offered access to a clinical trial as part of their cancer treatment by 2030. This will result in new treatments that are introduced to standard care pathways, which will improve cancer survival globally.

As the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe, The Christie treats more than 44,000 patients a year. The new building’s location adjoining The Christie will enable cells and samples from cancer patients to be taken to research labs in a matter of minutes – facilitating translational research that will result in more patients receiving new cancer treatments sooner. Co-locating clinical staff with lab-based researchers will foster interactions that drive and accelerate the translational and clinical research agenda, to expedite progress for cancer patients.

Professor Nic Jones, Director of Strategic Initiatives at The University of Manchester and former Chief Scientist at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘We want to re-write the future of cancer. As it stands, our successful partnership makes us a global leader in many fields of cancer research, which is a fantastic achievement and one we are proud of. This building will provide the necessary infrastructure we need to be one of the best comprehensive cancer centres in the world for basic, translational and clinical research, within the next 10 years”.

This is not a project to fund a new building; this is a project to extend and improve lives, locally, nationally and internationally. At Cancer Research UK, we feel this partnership and its aims present an unprecedented opportunity to re-write the future of cancer. We’re incredibly grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for supporting our vision.

Edward Bowers is a Philanthropy & Partnerships Communications Executive at Cancer Research UK