Multi-million pound boost 'will give Southampton tools to carry out ground-breaking research'

A MULTI-million pound injection will give Southampton scientists and doctors the tools they need to carry out ground-breaking cancer research, discovering and developing new treatments in the city.

The Daily Echo can reveal, over the next five years, £6.7m will be invested in the Cancer Research UK Southampton Centre at Southampton General Hospital.

The money will be used to develop new drugs and undertake brand new clinical trials helping cancer patients in Hampshire and beyond.

Experts from the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust plan to use the funds to accelerate their work on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, bladder and breast cancer.

It will also help build upon its existing strength in cancer surgery and support its world-renowned research in immunology and immunotherapy.

A large part of the cash will be used to train the next generation of cancer researchers – including 15 PHD students, ensuring the brightest scientists are attracted to the field of cancer research.

The charity has also joined forces with the National Institute for Health Research and pledged £1.5m to the city’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre. This will help give people with cancer access to cutting-edge treatments by testing new ways of detecting and monitoring the disease and how it responds to treatment through new clinical trials.

Southampton was chosen, by an international panel of experts, as one of just 13 locations in the UK to secure funding in the latest review of Cancer Research UK Centres and one of just 18 Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres.

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, who leads the Southampton centre, said: “Together, these centres accelerate the discovery and development of better treatments for cancer patients in Southampton and beyond.

“This investment means we will be able to advance our work in developing new cancer drugs – getting discoveries from the laboratory to clinical trials in patients and learning as much as possible from our patients to initiate new research.

“This award represents a critical investment in the research infrastructure at Southampton, equipping us with the key laboratory and clinical tools needed to advance the understanding and treatment of cancer for the benefit of people in the South East and beyond.”

Prof Johnson added the funding announcement showed the city’s role as a world-leader in cancer research and would help attract experts from around the world to work in the city.

He added the funding was very welcome, especially because it would allow them to recruit more leading cancer immunology specialists from around the world, helping to maintain Southampton’s position as one of Cancer Research UK’s flagship centres.

“The University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust make a formidable team in the fight against cancer and we will continue to work together to turn our research into benefits for people around the world,” Prof Johnson said.

Jenny Makin, the charity’s regional spokeswoman, said the awards recognised the fantastic research taking place in Southampton.

She added that one in two people would be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives so it was reassuring to know, thanks to their supporters, that Cancer Research UK was able to fund some of the best and most promising research in Southampton.

“Survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress – but every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters.”

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