CRUK Cambridge Institute

Cambridge scientists are set to receive a major cash injection from Cancer Research UK.

This investment means we will be able to further develop our work in translational research – getting cutting-edge discoveries from the laboratory to patients and learning as much as possible from patients to initiate new research

Richard Gilbertson

The Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre will receive around £22.5 million over the next five years as part of the development of a unique chain of cutting-edge research hubs around the UK.

The money will be used to accelerate work into diagnosing a wide range of cancers in children and adults at a much earlier stage, including pancreatic, ovarian and children’s cancers. The funding will support the development of the Centre’s Advanced Imaging capability, enabling scientists to look inside cancer cells in more detail than ever before and find the physical features that could be vulnerable to new treatments.

Professor Richard Gilbertson, Director at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, said: “We’ve had a challenging year and COVID-19 has slowed us down. But we will not stop working hard to find new treatments for cancer, and this investment will give us the tools we need to deliver high quality research that will make the biggest difference for patients.

“This investment means we will be able to further develop our work in translational research – getting cutting-edge discoveries from the laboratory to patients and learning as much as possible from patients to initiate new research.”

Cambridge has been chosen as one of just seven locations to secure funding in the latest review of the Cancer Research UK Centres network of excellence. These are world-class research centres that draw together leading research and medical expertise to drive the best possible results for cancer patients.

Every year around 37,300 people are diagnosed with cancer in the East of England.*

Dr Iain Foulkes, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Cancer Research UK, said: “This past year proves, more than any other, the value of investing in science and medical research, and what can be achieved with collective focus and collaboration. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer.

“Despite the impact of the pandemic on the charity’s income, we’re funding some of the best and most promising research in Cambridge to help more people survive.

“Survival rates have doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. Every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on every pound raised through fundraising, and they need support now more than ever.

“Our determination to beat cancer hasn’t faltered and we’re even more focussed on our ambition of seeing three in four people survive their cancer by 2034. One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetimes and all of us can support the research that will beat it.”

Adapted from a press release from Cancer Research UK


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  • Professor Richard Gilbertson is seeking to improve survival for children with brain tumours. So far, he and his team have found that childhood brain tumours are not a single disease. Now, they want to study the biology in even more detail. Their research will help to match new treatments to the biology of a child's brain tumour.
  • Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald is pioneering new ways to detect oesophageal cancer early. She developed the cytosponge, a “sponge on a string” pill that detects 10 times more cases of Barrett’s oesophagus (a condition that can sometimes lead to oesophageal cancer) compared with routine GP care. The cytosponge is now licensed for use in NHS Scotland, helping tackle backlogs in cancer care caused by the pandemic.
  • Dr Daniel Munoz-Espin is investigating the role of senescence caused by chemotherapy in lung cancer. He is hoping to find a way to prevent cancer cells slipping into this sleep-like state, allowing the cancer to be fully eradicated.

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