Dundee leads Scotland in launching new cancer research centre

Cancer Research UK

Dundee today (Thursday) becomes Scotland’s first link in a unique chain of Cancer Research UK Centres that are being launched across the UK. The launch of the Dundee Centre coincides with World Cancer Day.

These new cancer centres will draw together world class research and medical expertise to provide the best possible results for cancer patients nationwide.

As the first centre in Scotland, the Dundee Cancer Research UK Centre will help set the pace for national and international progress in bowel, breast and skin cancer. It will build on Dundee’s world class research in the areas of radiotherapy and surgery by focussing on new highly advanced image-guided surgical techniques. The Centre will also lead to the development of an international hub for research into the most serious type of skin cancer (melanoma), making new discoveries in basic cell biology then helping to translate those into new treatments.

Collaboration is the key to the success of the Centre which will enable researchers who do not normally work together to exchange ideas and information more easily. It now brings together researchers and support from University of Dundee, Cancer Research UK and the NHS Tayside.

Professor Irene Leigh, head of the College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing and chair of the board of the new centre, said: “This is a very exciting development for cancer research in Scotland. The new centre will help us bring together a variety of researchers and clinicians to collaborate and work together to improve the lives of cancer patients across Scotland. By building closer links between scientists and doctors we want to increase the pace of research, leading to improved treatments for patients."

The Centre aims to be a world leader in developing treatments tailored to individual cancer patients based on understanding the biology of the disease and how that varies among patients.

Cancer Research UK already supports research in Dundee but is set to increase its contribution to over £7.5m a year to help develop the Centre.

Professor Peter Downes, Principal of the University of Dundee, said: "The award of Cancer Centre status is the combination of years of effort building world class basic research into the underlying mechanisms of cancer alongside the clinical research needed to translate new knowledge into improved treatment of disease. It exemplifies our strategy to ensure research has a positive impact on society.”

Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "Huge progress has been made in beating cancer since the charity was formed and we’re determined to carry on. 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."

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8300, or the out of hours' duty press officer on 07050 264059.

Notes to Editor

Latest figures show that around 27,000 cancer cases are diagnosed in Scotland each year.

More than 15,000 people die from cancer in Scotland every year.

Cancer Research UK Centres aim to establish a nationwide network of excellence that will provide the best possible outcomes for patients by linking research activity with patient care and public engagement. Each Centre will focus on specific areas of research and aim to raise standards of care and forge links with local communities.

February 4 is World Cancer Day 2010, led by UICC, its members and with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), which aims to raise awareness of cancer prevention.

The UICC will launch the campaign “Cancer can be prevented too”, focussing on how the risk of developing cancer can significantly be reduced through simple measures:

  • Stop tobacco use and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Maintain a healthy weight, through eating healthily and exercising regularly
  • Protect against cancer-causing infections