Imperial College London

Cancer centres receive funding boost for research and treatment programmes

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Imperial bioengineering researcher working on equipment

Cancer Research UK's funding recognises the Imperial Centres' collaborative approach to tackling cancer

Lifesaving cancer research and treatment centres at Imperial have received a further five years of funding from Cancer Research UK.

The recent announcement from Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and its decision to re-invest in the Imperial CRUK Centre and the Imperial Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) reflects Imperial’s world-leading reputation for taking a co-ordinated effort to tackling cancer.

The College’s approach underpins high-quality clinical practice with its expertise in engineering, technology, physical sciences, imaging and systems medicine.

The CRUK funding, which is awarded to institutions performing the highest quality of cancer research, will enhance the College’s research infrastructure for cancer research across the Imperial CRUK Centre and the Imperial ECMC.

Spread over five years, the investment will help develop the breadth and depth of research performed within the centres. The funding will bring together cancer researchers from all faculties, and support technical staff, research and educational programmes, including:

  • multidisciplinary PhD studentships
  • a development fund for pilot projects
  • a series of workshops to engage researchers across multidisciplinary research disciplines
  • support for developing and managing large cancer-related research grants, projects and trials
  • support for translation of science, engineering and technology advances into cancer patients

This successful funding application represents a change in strategy and focus for the Imperial CRUK Centre, reflecting its development towards becoming a national hub for multidisciplinary investigators. To achieve this move, the Centre will harness Imperial’s strength in the physical and engineering sciences – such as by bringing together the technologies, platforms, and devices being developed across the College – to tackle cancer, and directly benefit the patient.

The Centres will focus and build on Imperial’s strengths in engineering and physical sciences to address the ongoing challenges of tackling cancer.

– Professor Ara Darzi

PI of the Imperial CRUK Centre

Professor Ara Darzi, Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation and PI of the Imperial CRUK Centre bid, said: “We are delighted and excited that Cancer Research UK has supported our Centres for another five years. The Centres will focus and build on Imperial’s strengths in engineering and physical sciences to address the ongoing challenges of tackling cancer.”

Professor Gavin Screaton, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said: “My congratulations to all involved in securing this funding. A collaborative approach to finding lifesaving treatments for cancer is vital – a fact which is clearly exemplified in the coordinated action being taken within Imperial and among the wider network of CRUK Centres in which the College also plays an important role.”

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, added: “This significant investment from Cancer Research UK is testament to the talent of the Centres at Imperial, and the power of their multidisciplinary approach to tackling one of the most pressing health challenges of our time. Imperial’s strategy is to bring together expertise from different disciplines to solve today’s global challenges. This support helps us achieve that goal.”

Largest investment to date

Researchers look at biological imaging on a screen

The funding will bring together cancer researchers from all faculties

The news comes as part of CRUK’s largest investment to date into its network of centres across the UK. A total of £226million has been split between 13 CRUK Centres and 18 ECMCs.

Dr Iain Foulkes, executive director of strategy and research funding at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), said: “This is the largest investment we have ever made into the Centres and we are incredibly proud of that.

“This money provides vital infrastructure for bench to bedside research. By strengthening the relationship between scientists and doctors, basic research guides clinical practice as effectively as possible.

“The funding is also an investment in the next generation of scientists. We are creating opportunities for PhD students and ensuring that the brightest scientists are attracted and supported in their career in cancer research.”

Nicola Blackwood, Minister for Public Health and Innovation, said: “We want to lead the world in fighting cancer. The work of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres is crucial in this fight.

“The collaboration between universities, NHS Trusts and the research community is a key reason these centres are successful, and illustrates why the UK is the best place in the world to be a researcher. I hope this funding will ultimately lead to more timely, life-saving treatments for patients.”

The Imperial team members who are playing core roles within the Centres are: Prof Charles Coombes; Prof Dan Elson; Mr Daniel Leff; Prof Eric Aboagye (Co-PI ECMC); Prof Michael Seckl (Co-PI ECMC); and Prof Robert Brown.

The Centre will work with researchers across the College including: Prof Jeremy Nicholson, Prof Zoltan Takats, Prof Molly Stevens, Paul French, Prof Ed Tate, Prof Guang-Zhong Yang, Prof Paul Freemont.

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Andrew Youngson

Andrew Youngson
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