News and events archive 2004 - 2013


Leicester leading East Midlands cancer research

The University of Leicester and Leicester's hospitals have successfully secured funding to set up an experimental medicine research centre with a major aim of developing cancer preventive drugs.

Cancer Research UK and the Departments of Health launched this new initiative a year ago by asking interested parties to put forward competitive bids. Those successful would be given the role of developing new approaches to treating cancer, preventing it and finding new methods of diagnosing it early.

Leicester's hospitals and university are the only successful group to have secured full funding in the East Midlands. They will begin to recruit patients to the study in April 2007.

Professor Will Steward, Head of the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine at the University of Leicesterand Professor of Oncology at the Leicester Royal Infirmary said:

"Leicester's hospitals and university are the only group to be successful in securing full funding for this research in the East Midlands. Our main aim will be to develop cancer preventative drugs. We will be recruiting normal healthy volunteers to a series of studies and take a variety of specimens to help find new ways to detect cancer early and follow its progress during treatment.

The Leicester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre will receive approximately £1million over the next five years from the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK.

"This funding is vital to help us develop new approaches to preventing cancer and may help us to find new treatments for cancer once it has become established. We can bring together laboratory and clinical research and share knowledge and resources with the other experimental cancer centres in the UK" continued Professor Steward.

Photo Opportunity

Professor Will Steward, Professor of Oncology, will be available for interview between 12 - 1pm on Friday 30 March 2007. Please call Melanie Wright, media communications manager to arrange and interview / photograph.

Notes for Editors

  • An international review panel awarded grants to seventeen centres based on their scientific and clinical excellence. They will each receive around £2million over the next five years to drive new anti-cancer treatments to patients.
  • The centres are: Leicester, Barts and the London, Birmingham, Belfast, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Imperial College, Institute of Cancer Research, King's College of London, Leeds-Bradford-Hull-York, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford, Southampton and University College of London. Two further centres, Liverpool and Sheffield, will be under development and will receive grants of around £150,000 each year.
  • This initiative is being developed under the umbrella of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) and will be fully co-ordinated with the UK Clinical Research Collaboration's (UKCRC) activities in experimental medicine outside cancer.
  • Experimental medicine is defined as investigation undertaken in human beings to identify mechanisms of pathophysiology or disease and to test the validity and importance of new discoveries or treatments.
  • In the Department of Health's assessment of Research & Development at UHL, which was released in January 2007, it said:
"This is an excellent report and demonstrates clearly the high quality research being supported by the Trust. All the R&D programmes continue to be rated strong. Not only do most programmes attract a very good level of external funding, they have also had some very good impacts on NHS services."
  • Leicester's Hospitals have been rated as excellent for their quality of services in the Healthcare Commission's Annual Health Check, putting them top of the national league table for large acute teaching Trusts and in the top six of all Trusts nationally. The three hospitals - Glenfield, Leicester General and Leicester Royal Infirmary - cared for over 1 million people last year.

Issued by Melanie Wright, Media Communications Manager on 0116 258 8524.

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