Professor Sir Kenneth Calman appointed chair of National Cancer Research Institute

Cancer Research UK

Former chief medical officer for both Scotland and England, Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, is the new chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), it was announced today Tuesday 1 April.

Prof Calman will take up the post with immediate effect. He takes over from the national cancer director for England, Professor Mike Richards, who steps down after two years in the role. Professor Richards will continue to be a member of the NCRI board.

The NCRI, which is a UK-wide organisation, consists of 20 government and charity partners as well as the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. It was set up in 2001 to facilitate joint planning for cancer research. In total, NCRI partners have an annual spend on cancer research exceeding £400M.

Professor Richards said: "I'm delighted Professor Calman has been appointed as chairman. Sir Kenneth will bring his extensive experience as a cancer clinician, a researcher and as a senior manager to this role.

"The NCRI has continued to go from strength to strength in recent years and its role has never been more important. The country's growing ageing population means that the number of people who get cancer will continue to go up. And this presents a number of challenges for the future."

In his role as chief medical officer for England, Professor Calman co-authored a report* which recommended the radical restructuring of cancer services to improve treatment outcomes and reduce inequalities. The report was the precursor to the government’s Cancer Plan, which delivered this restructuring.

Kenneth Calman was professor of oncology at the University of Glasgow. He is currently chancellor of the university and will take up his new role with the NCRI in addition to this post. He is also a Cancer Research UK trustee and a former member of the World Health Organisation’s executive board.

Professor Calman said: "I'm joining the NCRI at an exciting time - just as the organisation enters a new five year strategic plan. Cancer research is a fast moving field and we will be focussing on new priorities - such as providing care and support for cancer survivors, and early detection and diagnosis. The strategic planning and coordination that the NCRI provides will be crucial in delivering on these.

"We will help the funders understand the challenges of supporting research in these areas, and we will develop joint plans to promote and deliver this work."

ENDS

For media enquiries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.

Notes to Editor

*A policy framework for commissioning cancer services: a report by the expert advisory group on cancer to the chief medical officers of England and Wales. Calman and Hine. 1995.

The 2008 NCRI Cancer Conference will be held at the ICC, Birmingham, from 5-8 October. Details available on the NCRI Cancer Conference website.

The NCRI was established in April 2001. It is a partnership between government, the voluntary sector and the private sector, with the primary mission of maximising patient benefit that accrues from cancer research in the UK through coordination of effort and joint planning towards an integrated national strategy for cancer research.

The NCRI consists of: The Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI); The Association for International Cancer Research; The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Breakthrough Breast Cancer; Breast Cancer Campaign; Cancer Research UK; Children with Leukaemia; Department of Health; Economic and Social Research Council; Leukaemia Research Fund; Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; Macmillan Cancer Support; Marie Curie Cancer Care; The Medical Research Council; Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Research & Development Office; Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation; Scottish Government Health Directorates ; Tenovus; Welsh Assembly Government; Wellcome Trust and Yorkshire Cancer Research.