Cancer Research UK helps fund new Edinburgh research institute

In collaboration with the Press Association

A new institute in Edinburgh will bring together research specialists from every area of human biology, providing a fresh approach to researching and treating common diseases.

The Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) has opened in Edinburgh and represents a partnership by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the University of Edinburgh and Cancer Research UK.

It will research a range of illnesses, including cancer, schizophrenia, arthritis and bowel disease, with scientists sharing their expertise in the hopes that lessons learnt about one condition may inform research into others.

A major focus of the institute, which is directed by Professor Nick Hastie from the MRC's Human Genetics Unit, will be to develop non-toxic treatments for cancer so that it can be viewed as a chronic condition rather than a life-threatening disease.

Professor Hastie commented: "Research into targeted, protracted treatment of cancer is a perfect example of what can happen when scientists join forces.

"This institute heralds a new dawn of discovery science for human health. Here we can study every phase of human biology from genetic determinants of disease to the way lifestyle factors affect our health, and together achieve our goal of offering more effective and personalised medical treatment."

Professor Margaret Frame, a Cancer Research UK scientist and chair of cancer biology at the University of Edinburgh, will lead a study into signal transduction pathways - the biochemical mechanisms that allow cancers to spread.

Professor Frame commented: "After years of groundbreaking research, we have become much better at detecting and treating many forms of cancer. But there are still many cancers that are resistant to current therapies and there is a real need to discover new ways of slowing down the spread of the disease.

"It's time for a new approach. Cancer specialists are experts in studying tumours, but if, for example, we want to stop breast cancers spreading to the spine, we need to learn from experts in bone disease.

"This new institute will facilitate that process by prompting scientists and doctors in different disciplines to work together and help us to develop entirely new ways of thinking about cancer treatment."