Major new network for UK cancer research announced

In collaboration with the Press Association

Funding for a major network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) for the UK has been announced today at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference.

The centres have received a funding boost of £35 million from Cancer Research UK and the Departments of Health in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

An international review panel awarded grants to seventeen centres based on their scientific and clinical excellence. They will each receive around £2 million over the next five years to drive new anti-cancer treatments to patients.

The substantial increase in funding will ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of international efforts to develop new treatments for cancer.

The network will build on the successful work of the Department of Health-funded National Translational Cancer Research Network (NTRAC).

NTRAC was established in 2002 as part of the National Cancer Plan to help facilitate translational cancer research in the NHS.

The funding will cover clinical, laboratory and NHS infrastructure costs, enabling centres to bring together laboratory and clinical research, sharing knowledge and resources for the benefit of cancer patients.

The funds will underpin the translational work needed to develop new anti-cancer drugs and diagnostics from the laboratory into clinics and then to test them in early clinical trials.

Professor Herbie Newell, director of translational research at Cancer Research UK, who will oversee the running of the network, said: "This initiative will provide the vital infrastructure to help laboratory scientists, clinicians, nurses and support staff accelerate research that benefits patients.

"This investment will promote research into the development of new drugs and test individualisation of patient care over the next five years.

"Cancer Research UK and its NCRI partners are well placed to exploit the opportunities presented by the basic science strengths and clinical research expertise in the UK.

"We aim to build upon the proven success of the NTRAC centres to manage a highly efficient network of Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres."