New cancer centre launched in Leeds
LEEDS today joins a unique chain of Cancer Research UK Centres that are being launched across the UK.
These Cancer Centres will draw together world class research and areas of medical expertise to provide the best possible results for cancer patients nationwide.
The Leeds Cancer Research UK Centre will help set the pace for national and international progress in understanding the genetic factors and changes that cause cancer and the spread of the disease.
Cancer Research UK funded research in Leeds focuses on bowel cancer, bladder cancer, (melanoma) skin cancer and kidney cancer while other high activity research areas include paediatric tumours, lung cancer and leukaemia and lymphoma.
Collaboration is the key to the success of the Centre which will take the lead on finding new biomarkers to better understand and predict the effect drugs could have on patients.
Cancer Research UK will continue to support research in Leeds to the tune of almost seven million pounds a year.
Professor Tim Bishop, head of genetic epidemiology at the University of Leeds and chair of the Centre's Governance Board, said: " This exciting new initiative will strengthen our efforts to bring together all cancer researchers in Leeds to work together to improve the lives of cancer patients. By building closer inter disciplinary links with scientists, doctors, chemists, physicists, biologists and engineers we want to increase the pace of research, leading to improved treatments for patients.
"The centre will also help bring treatments straight from the laboratory to the clinic, meaning patients will have access to the latest available treatments."
The Centre aims to be a world leader in developing targeted therapies based on understanding the biology of the disease and how that varies among patients. It brings together the researchers and support from the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
The centre will also strengthen its training for both clinical and basic scientists.
William Jones, 74, a designer, artist and poet, from Knaresborough, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2008. The cancer had already spread to his liver.
Between surgery to remove the tumours on his bowel and liver, William took part in a clinical trial at St James's Institute of Oncology, REO 013, designed to investigate the anti-cancer activity of reovirus and its effect on liver metastases secondary to bowel cancer.
William had no hesitation in taking part in the trial, not just because it could help him, but what it could mean for people in the future and the thought of helping future generations, moving things forward.
"This was the only trial of its type in the world, but to know that I was able to take part in it because it was available close to me in Leeds made me feel really special, like I was being picked for the world cup squad.
"I am delighted that Leeds is now a Cancer Research UK Centre. As a Yorkshire man I am very proud that this great research is going on right on my doorstep. The team at Leeds are top class - like the Orient Express. I feel very fortunate to have been offered this trial."
William's most recent scan in January this year showed no evidence of cancer.
Professor Stephen Smye, director of research and development at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "High quality research and clinical care in cancer are central to the Trust's strategic objectives, and the Cancer Research UK Cancer Centre is central to achieving these goals. Currently more than 5000 Trust patients are recruited into high quality clinical trials and other studies, and, in cancer, this high quality clinical research is driven from a world-class portfolio of biomedical research conducted in the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine. Cancer Research UK funding will support this pipeline of leading-edge biomedical research, which aims to improve clinical outcomes in patients with cancer.
"The designation of the University of Leeds and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust as a Cancer Research UK Cancer Centre is the culmination of a long-standing research partnership in oncology between the Trust and Cancer Research UK."
Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "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."
Cancer Research UK plans to launch more centres around the UK in the future.